Watch out for dotterel

Picture by Mithuna Sothieson

PEOPLE heading to the beach this summer are reminded to keep away from the nesting areas of the nationally-vulnerable New Zealand dotterel and banded dotterel.

The endangered New Zealand dotterel was once widespread and common, but now there are about 1700 birds left, making them more at risk than some species of kiwi.

Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Jamie Quirk said most of the dotterel nesting sites in the East Coast region were in coastal areas, around rivers and streambeds from Hicks Bay to Te Wherowhero.

“As more people are outdoors, this increases the chance of disturbances at these nesting sites from gravel extraction, visitors, users of off-road vehicles and dogs.

“We want people to avoid these nesting sites where possible.”

New Zealand dotterels are shorebirds, usually found on sandy beaches and sandspits or feeding on tidal estuaries.

They are mostly pale-grey on the back, with off-white underparts that become flushed with rusty-orange in winter and spring. They have a prominent head, large dark-brown eyes and a strong black bill.

Banded dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus) have a narrow black band on the neck and a wide chestnut band on the breast during the breeding season.

Their camouflage colours make them difficult to see when standing still, but their habit of running quickly and pausing to feed makes them easy to identify. Their ‘chip-chip’ call is often heard before they are seen.

They breed between September and February, and will nest anywhere from high tide mark to the base of dunes or riverbeds.

They lay two or three eggs in nests that are well camouflaged, therefore easily crushed by unsuspecting beach users.

DoC is working with Gisborne District Council in the recovery and long-term conservation of the dotterel.

Dotterel pamphlets have been distributed to freedom campers, information centres and landowners.

Tips for protecting dotterel

  • Stay below the high tide mark.
  • Keep noise to a minimum and don't get too close.
  • Keep to marked tracks and paths wherever possible.
  • Keep dogs on a leash.
  • Keep vehicles off beaches and sandspits.
  • <

PEOPLE heading to the beach this summer are reminded to keep away from the nesting areas of the nationally-vulnerable New Zealand dotterel and banded dotterel.

The endangered New Zealand dotterel was once widespread and common, but now there are about 1700 birds left, making them more at risk than some species of kiwi.

Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Jamie Quirk said most of the dotterel nesting sites in the East Coast region were in coastal areas, around rivers and streambeds from Hicks Bay to Te Wherowhero.

“As more people are outdoors, this increases the chance of disturbances at these nesting sites from gravel extraction, visitors, users of off-road vehicles and dogs.

“We want people to avoid these nesting sites where possible.”

New Zealand dotterels are shorebirds, usually found on sandy beaches and sandspits or feeding on tidal estuaries.

They are mostly pale-grey on the back, with off-white underparts that become flushed with rusty-orange in winter and spring. They have a prominent head, large dark-brown eyes and a strong black bill.

Banded dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus) have a narrow black band on the neck and a wide chestnut band on the breast during the breeding season.

Their camouflage colours make them difficult to see when standing still, but their habit of running quickly and pausing to feed makes them easy to identify. Their ‘chip-chip’ call is often heard before they are seen.

They breed between September and February, and will nest anywhere from high tide mark to the base of dunes or riverbeds.

They lay two or three eggs in nests that are well camouflaged, therefore easily crushed by unsuspecting beach users.

DoC is working with Gisborne District Council in the recovery and long-term conservation of the dotterel.

Dotterel pamphlets have been distributed to freedom campers, information centres and landowners.

Tips for protecting dotterel

  • Stay below the high tide mark.
  • Keep noise to a minimum and don't get too close.
  • Keep to marked tracks and paths wherever possible.
  • Keep dogs on a leash.
  • Keep vehicles off beaches and sandspits.
  • <
Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    ​​If the council does proceed with an online voting option for the 2019 election, will you likely vote online or by ballot paper?