Spring is in the air
And so is the rain and the wind! The days are longer and daffodils have bloomed, but it is not easy trying to raise your young in some of the wild west coast conditions spring can bring!
The banded dotterels build their shallow nests on the beach and are subject to high tides, winds and still some chilly blasts from the south – never mind keeping an eye out for predators as well! Black-backed gulls, rats, and stoats as well as
people can all create havoc for a young dotterel family.
The adult birds cannot move off the eggs for any length of time as they need to be kept warm. If you approach too closely, they will move off the nests and lure you away with a feigned broken wing. Each spring we try to help them along by roping off their nests – this way visitors to the beach can watch them from a safe distance without disturbing them.
While the Okarito beach is home to some nesting families of these little birds, the north beach (inaccessible except by boat) is more remote and secluded and where most of the local population is raised. Once the young birds fledge they all eventually make their way out to the tidal flats of the lagoon where we can comfortably watch them from the boat from mid-summer through autumn. Next up we will feature the bar-tailed godwits and their amazing journey from Siberia and Alaska to New Zealand and Okarito!