Professor John Robinson commented on the issue of vehicles driving across the sandspit at the Waikanae River estuary on our post from 17 November. There have been articles in the Kapiti Observer reporting that dotterel (more info about this bird and the above photo here) are nesting there, and he has written to both local newspapers. Neither letter has been published.
Below are copies of these letters. He comments:
“The refusal to recognise these letters raises wider questions.
“This is an extremely important environmental treasure that should be protected. It is not. Why does the Council allow driving across the sandspit, including giving permits?
“Why do these two local papers fail to consider an extremely sensitive local issue that would embarrass the Council?” [we suspect it’s because of the huge amount of advertising revenue that both papers get from the council each year — Eds]
Friday, 8 December 2017 for Kapiti News
Your report (December 8) on dotterel nesting at the Waikanae estuary tells that their nests are very exposed and can be easily stepped on. It suggests that walkers keep their dogs under control, but fails to recognise the evident danger from vehicles driving over the area.
A similar report in the Kapiti Observer (November 30) did consider that possibility but the reporter believed that “the estuary sandspit between the river and the sea” is “not in an area reached by vehicles”.
That is complete nonsense. There have been vehicles driving all over that sandspit for the past several months, churning up the sand all along both river and seaward sides, as well as across the middle.
If you do care for nesting birds, or for the beauty of the environment, or for the enjoyment of people who want to walk on a windswept sandspit free from vehicle tracks, you will provide a follow-up article about the uncaring policy of the Council and of the selfishness of those who drive all over the sandspit to destroy that natural beauty and endanger the wildlife.
John Robinson, Waikanae
Thursday, 30 November 2017 for Kapiti Observer
A most curious report (‘Be careful of the dotterel nest’, November 30) told that “New Zealand dotterels have been found nesting at the Waikanae estuary”, with the claim that “the estuary sandspit between the river and the sea” is “not in an area reached by vehicles”.
There have been vehicles driving all over that sandspit for the past several months, churning up the sand all along both river and seaward sides, as well as across the middle.
It is quite evident that the people of Kapiti, through their Council, do not give a hoot for nesting birds, or for the beauty of the environment.
John Robinson, Waikanae
This photo was taken by Roger Brent Smith a couple of months ago just after a clown in a white ute narrowly missed this sitting dotterel on her nest.