Author: Bernard Michaux

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…

Bird news for the 2023/24 Season

I’ve been meaning to report on the birds this year for some weeks, but the buggers keep breeding so this is an interim report. Summer Migrants The kuaka arrived from their Alaskan breeding grounds in mid-September and reached maximum numbers – about 320 birds – on 1/11/23. Many of these birds were juveniles who leave Alaska later than most of…

Spring News

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…

Urban Widlife Areas

Despite our strong rural roots, Aotearoa/New Zealand is one of the most urbanised countries in the world, and Auckland is (on a local scale) a mega-city with close to a third of all kiwis living here or hereabouts. Research is clear that urban peoples’ mental wellbeing is much improved when they have access to open spaces where nature flourishes, but…

The godwits are back

Sometime in the last two weeks our kuaka have started to return to us after breeding in Alaska and their long return journey over the Pacific Ocean. I recently counted 134 of them at Karepiro and, if things go as they usually do, will continue to increase in the coming week or two to something over 200. The adults return…

Change of Seasons

It seems a bit strange to talk about a change in seasons having just visited the Weiti chéniers and Karepiro during a howling easterly gale with the waves crashing up onto the dunes and with a decided chill to the air, but the birds definitely think spring has arrived. The pied oystercatchers/tōrea have largely dispersed southwards to their breeding grounds,…

Refurbishment of chénier fencing

The storms this year had taken their toll on the fencing at Weiti chénier (and Karepiro for that matter too) so the Stillwater Stalwarts decided to combine a working bee with the community planting day that FOOB ran on July 2nd. Linda Gates, Irene Sanders, John Marais and myself formed the work party who were ably provisioned by Lezette on…

The breach at high tide

Winter Update

Winter is definitely here even if we didn’t seem to have had a summer in Auckland. The effects of the frequent strong northeasterly blows can be seen everywhere with beach erosion and piles of debris washed high up the beaches. The Weiti chenier was particularly hard hit with a breach formed at the northern end of the lagoon, which has…

Weiti 2023 dotterel youngster

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 Two other tuturiwhatu pairs nested on the chénier but the weather…

Good News, Bad News

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…

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