The birds are back in town!
It’s been a beautiful spring and really has felt like summer here in Okarito this past week. We have some amazing numbers of birds and really exciting to see what the summer has in store.
With increased predator control happening around the village, we are hopeful we will see (and hear!) even more birds around this special region.
One of the iconic nesting birds here is the little banded dotterel we have shown you in the past. While do not see them nesting from the boat tours, when the tide is really low, we will see them up on the tidal flats – usually later in the season when they are done nesting which they do in shallow nests on the beach. However we have seen a few up there already and we have some little “fluffballs on toothpicks” (week old juveniles) racing around the beach under strict supervision of the adults!
If you do come out to Okarito, please be very careful when walking on the beach as the nests are difficult to spot until you are nearly right on top of them. Unfortunately we have had at least one fatality when an unsupervised child drove a bike right over the nest – we need to remember these beaches are very fragile homes – often for birds whose habitat is decreasing.
In the past we have acted as “unofficial rangers” roping off nests and putting up signs on the beach – we are ready to put those hats on again and see if we can raise awareness for both locals and our visitors to the area and help to protect these very special little birds.
We have another rare visitor to Okarito – once quite common we have not seen them in any numbers for years – check out our next post to learn about the return of the “lesser knot” to our tidal flats.