End-of-year Roundup

Well, it’s been a very successful year as far as the tūturiwhatu/NZ dotterel are concerned because 11 chicks fledged from the three breeding sites. It wasn’t so good for the tōrea pango/Variable oystercatcher with only four chicks fledged. It was a strange year for the tōrea pango as they were very late starting to breed and produced fewer eggs. It’s always difficult to ascribe cause, but it looks like a shortage of food – both to bring the birds into breeding condition and to provide the where-with-all to make eggs – was the probable cause. Perhaps the sediment supply coming down the rivers has had an adverse effect on the shellfish these birds feed on. The tūturiwhatu feed on insects that live on the surface so their food supply wouldn’t have been impacted. Here are some photos from this season.
Flaggy jr

Flag family. Female (CXE), mate and chick. Photo by Linda Gates

Dotterel chick at Weiti.

Young chick foraging on the beach. Photo by Linda Gates.

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