Spring News

Over 300 kuaka at the Weiti chénier on November 1st. Many new arrivals, mostly juveniles.

The photo shows the largest flock of kuaka/bar-tailed godwit I’ve ever seen at Weiti – an estimated 320 birds. Most of the newcomers were juveniles, this years youngsters fresh from Alaska in their bright, spangly plumage. They probably won’t stay long but will disperse to places like the Kaipara or Manukau harbours or the Firth of Thames.

You can see the damage done to the fencing by the recent storm, which also washed away the dotterel nest on the northern part of the chénier and the tōrea pango/variable oystercatcher nest at Karepiro. But fortunately the damage was limited – most of the tōrea pango had not started nesting and the tūturiwhatu/NZ dotterel managed to hatch their eggs before the storm hit AND managed to keep their small, vulnerable chicks dry and warm during the wet weather. The ‘flag family’, CXE and her mate, now have 3 chicks at Weiti.

The original three chicks at Karepiro are quite well grown and busy feeding on the beach and another family with two much smaller chicks are also present. The Okura chénier was inundated, but neither the tūturiwhatu nor tōrea pango pairs had started nesting. So despite the storm, the breeding season has got off to a good start. Let’s just hope most of the youngsters survive to adulthood.

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