The good news is that there’s been a baby boom at Karepiro and the Okura chénier. I’ve been struck down with covid and it’s been over three weeks since I was able to check on progress, so I was delighted to see the new additions at both these sites. Two NZ dotterel/tuturiwhatu pairs have each raised a single chick on Karepiro beach. They are now about 3/4 of the adult size and seem to be doing well. The resident oystercatcher/tōrea pango pair have two small chicks. Please be aware of the vulnerability of these young if you visit the beach over the next few weeks.
The oystercatcher/tōrea pango at the Okura chénier have three very small chicks and the NZ dotterel/tuturiwhatu pair have young, although I couldn’t find them but know they are there because of their parents’ behaviour. A second tōrea pango pair are also present on the chénier and may yet breed.
The bad news is that the Weiti chéniers are no longer suitable as a breeding site for our endemic shorebirds or pāteke. The reason is the presence of domestic cats. Auckland council have declined to undertake cat control to protect the biodiversity at Weiti while at the same time stopping volunteers carrying out this mahi. Hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteer hours have been negated at a stroke by these decisions. To make it clear: the Weiti chénier is a site of great biodiversity value, the only mainland non-fenced site where pāteke have successfully bred, where banded rail/moho pererū have established, and where up to three pairs of NZ dotterel/tuturiwhatu and two pairs of tōrea pango regularly raised young. If we are to take the Council’s commitment to protect Auckland’s biodiversity seriously, then words need to be backed by action.