Published on 13 March 2019

Auckland's west coast NNZD breeding summary

Three NNZD chicks, about two weeks old. Piha, January 2019.

Three NNZD chicks, about two weeks old. Piha, January 2019.

The breeding season 2018-2019 is over and it looks like it hasn't been bad for the west coast. As far as I know a total of 10 chicks have successfully fledged but I expect the final count to be announced at the Auckland dotterel forum next April. The number of chicks per site can be seen in the table below.

Site # breeding pairs # fledged chicks
Piha 1 3
Bethells - Te Henga 1 1
Anawhata 1 3
Karekare 4 3

Both Piha and Bethells -  Te Henga are managed sites, therefore likely to yield "good" results. It's the first time in many years that a dotterel chick has been known to fledge in Bethells - Te Henga. This success can be attributed to Lesley and Richard who have been working with Ben Paris and Chris Bindon from the Auckland Council throughout the season.

Excellent results also at Piha where Sean and I have managed to help the only breeding pair to successfully raise three chicks. If you're interested in the details of the season in Piha just have a look to the entry I posted on my iNaturalist journal where I showcase all the relevant observations of the last few months.

Chicks enjoying mummy's comfort and protection under her wings. Piha, January 2019.

Although both being non-managed sites, Anawhata and Karekare ended up providing very different results. I'm just speculating when I say that the difference could be attributed to human disturbance, more frequent in Karekare than Anawhata. Predation could be also a differential factor although it's hard to tell without carrying a more appropriate survey during the season.

Other than the good news regarding nests productivity, it's very encouraging to see the media giving a voice to our shorebirds. Sarah from RNZ was kind enough to come out at Piha to see how our chicks were doing. Check out the article she wrote and the interview she did to Ben Paris and I.

RNZ article by Sarah Robson

RNZ article by Sarah Robson, January 2019.

The council has also published about the good news coming out from Piha in their blog site.

I'd say that overall it has been a reasonably good season for west coast standards. Let's hope the next one will be even better.