Bird lovers are both excited and anxious about a pair of endangered dotterels that could be in the process of nesting at Big Manly Beach.
NZ dotterels, tūturiwhatu have been seen before on this beach and attempted to nest there last year. However despite intervention from Forest & Bird’s Jenny Hanwell, including a fenced enclosure, last year’s pair abandoned their eggs after about 45 days.
Four dotterels have been spotted on the beach in recent weeks, with signs that one pair is settling down to nest in the dunes/grassy area.
Hopefully this area is safer from dogs and other threats, but they are still very vulnerable to disturbance and predation of the eggs by pukekos, gulls, rats, hedgehogs and stoats.
The birds will begin to sit almost continuously once all three eggs have been laid, taking it in turns to go away and feed.
Once again, Jenny, with support from Auckland Council and a volunteer, has installed a roped area and sign to make people aware of the need to keep away from any dotterel nest.
The other two birds seen at Manly were banded as chicks at Shakespear earlier this year, so are too young to breed.
NZ dotterel are found only in this country and are rarer than some species of kiwi, with only around 2500 left. Their populations are classed as recovering, but even at Shakespear, successful breeding is quite limited.