DoC photo and comments:
The first known NZ dotterel chick has hatched at the Waikanae Estuary. It’s not new for the birds to visit the estuary but this successful breeding is a first.
Two chicks have been observed, along with two adults.
DOC have placed signs near the nest, asking people to keep well away and keep dogs on a lead. Rangers will be checking on the nest periodically and taking reports from locals on how the birds are doing.
Anyone who disturbs or harms wildlife can be prosecuted under the Wildlife Act [hopefully they will be — Eds].
Northern NZ Dotterel are a species in trouble. They are mainly at risk from disturbance by people, vehicles and dogs, as well as predation from hedgehogs, stoats, cats and rats.
And while on the subject of risk to these birds, today is the last day of the whitebait season, so from tomorrow there should no vehicles, except emergency ones, in the Waikanae Estuary Reserve.
Below are photos we took on 3 October which show no less than nine SUVs in the area; one of them drove right over the nesting area and tyre tracks showed that others had done that too.
We were going to report them; but then decided it would be futile as authorities would do nothing.
Mayor Guru, when asked about the problem during the GWRC Waikanae River walk in October, simply trotted out the KCDC excuse that they have no power to issue moving vehicle infringement notices — and that talking nicely to the offenders would make them stop. We don’t think so. These people only care about their own comfort and if they can disregard the law with impunity, they will.