Whitebaiters?

Apple trees?

Cafes that close at 4pm?

No, it’s banded dotterels.

And we should be duly proud.

The Regional Council has just completed a survey of Hawke’s Bay river birds which indicates that shorebirds are thriving in the region. The survey was carried out along 286 kilometres of the Tukituki, Ngaruroro, and Tūtaekurī rivers.

HBRC terrestrial ecologist, Keiko Hashiba, says: “It’s awesome to see that two years in a row our rivers are strongholds for many of our threated shorebirds. This is fantastic because many of these species are reported declining elsewhere.”

Ms Hashiba says many of the birds along our rivers are classified as At-Risk and Threatened by the Department of Conservation, for example the banded dotterel, which is classified as ‘Threatened: Nationally Vulnerable’.

Although the population is considered to be declining nationally (gone on the South Island), she reports that  “2,564 adult banded dotterels were counted during the 2019 and 2020 surveys, an 11% increase from the 2019 count. This number represents an estimated 13% of the global population and the count shows that the Tukituki River supports the largest population of banded dotterels in New Zealand.”

HBRC claims some credit for this result. The Regional Council’s team leader schemes, Antony Rewcastle, says:

“Hawkes Bay has the privilege and responsibility of supporting unique banded dotterel populations by protecting and enhancing habitats, including animal pest control and minimising disturbance from people, vehicles, and dogs during the nesting season.”

Mammalian predators are the main enemy – feral cats, ferrets, stoats, weasels, rats and hedgehogs.

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