These guys have a tough time perpetuating the species. This is the sole surviving chick from 16 eggs laid on a beach on Moturua Island in the Bay of Islands. Cute little critter.
Some eggs got swept away by high tides. Some hatched and the chicks were taken out by black-backed gulls. Moturua is pest-free so thankfully they didn't have to cope with rat or stoat predation.
Dotterel number just 2,000. Here's what we can do lifted from the DoC website:
- Dotterels nest between September and February.
- Nests are really just a small scrape in the sand, usually on the high tide mark and sometimes protected by driftwood or seaweed.
- Nests are very easy to accidentally walk on. Walk below the high tide mark on beaches where dotterels are breeding.
- If you see a dotterel pretending to be injured, it has chicks or a nest nearby. Please move away from the area and step lightly on the beach.
- Do not disturb nesting birds, their eggs or chicks.
After watching these guys through a 400mm lens we went around to Otupoho (Homestead Bay) also on Moturua. There were some folks there having a picnic, they had their two dogs on the beach. So to the DoC list I'd add - please, please, leave your dog on the boat. Give these guys every chance to thrive.