Baby Bird Boom

What a summer! Despite the weather, this season has been a very successful one for both tuturiwhatu/NZ dotterel and tōrea pango/variable oystercatcher. Here’s a summary of successes and failures at each of the sites.
Weiti chénier
tōrea pango: One pair fledged two chicks
tuturiwhatu: One pair fledged one chick

Juvenile tuturiwhatu, Weiti chénier, 2023

Juvenile tuturiwhatu, Weiti chénier, 2023. Photo by Linda Gates.

Two other tuturiwhatu pairs nested on the chénier but the weather destroyed both nests – twice! Three pairs of tōrea pango also lost their nests, one pair on the chénier and two pairs just around the point under the cliffs towards Karepiro Bay. The chénier is very exposed to summer storms coming from the east, and in La Ninã years is likely to be a dodgy place for ground nesters. The first storm opened a channel in the chénier connecting the lagoon with the sea, and the second completely remodelled the northern end. The pāteke pair lost their brood to the cat this year, but both birds were seen on the lagoon later, so hopefully the pair will return next year and we’ll be allowed to protect them.
The newly formed channel.  Photo by Linda Gates

The newly formed channel. Photo by Linda Gates

Before and after Cyclone Gabrielle.  Photo by Linda Gates.

Before and after Cyclone Gabrielle. Photo by Linda Gates.

Karepiro Beach
Three pairs of tutiriwhatu fledged single chicks and the resident pair of tōrea pango fledged two chicks. No other nests lost. The successful pairs bred before the first storm apart from one tuturiwhatu pair that fortunately hatched their chick between storms.
Okura chénier
The resident tuturiwhatu pair fledged two chicks and the resident tōrea pango hatched three chicks and fledged two of them

So, the 2022/23 season produced 6 tuturiwhatu chicks and 6 tōrea pango chicks. The best season ever, at least as long as I’ve been monitoring these sites. The kuaka/godwit flock consistently numbered over 200 and mainly roosted at Weiti, although occasionally splitting themselves between Weiti and Karepiro.

Weiti godwits roosting over high tide

Weiti godwits and torēa roosting over high tide

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