A Dotterel Breeding habitat at Tahuna Torea

After the last count of 50 Pukeko at Point England I am considering trying to find a better breeding habitat on the Tamaki Estuary for the local Dotterel. Michael Taylor can’t recall Dotterel showing any interest in the tidal mudflats in the lagoon area at Tahuna Torea. I am wondering why, as this seems the perfect spot.

Here is a map showing the current state of the islands which are potential roosting/ nesting spots.
Here is a map showing the current state of the islands which are potential roosting/ nesting spots.

Mangroves and other vegetation would need to be cleared to give the birds a 270° view. Gwenda Pulham made the observation that there are no sand hoppers to feed chicks and I should read HANZAB. Which states “Usually feed on firm exposed mudflats, sand or stones; avoid soft sticky mud, e.g. near mangroves.”

But I have seen birds with sticky mud on their beaks. (Ambury park)
But I have seen birds with sticky mud on their beaks. (Ambury park)

So how sticky is too sticky?

This is what most of the mud looks like. Note crab holes and my average footstep depth of 2cm.
This is what most of the mud looks like. Note all the mud snails and my average footstep depth of 2cm.
The mud around the islands is higher and only covered 30 min either side of high tide. Note the extra crab holes.
The mud around the islands is higher and only covered 30 min either side of high tide. Note the extra crab holes.

The odd Pukeko and roosting Caspian Tern is seen on the flats, and occasionally a Banded Rail. But mostly it’s White Faced Herons and Pied Stilts.

If it has a 30% chance or working then I am keen to:

  • Clear dense vegetation from the islands.
  • Remove or trim a large amount of the mangroves.
  • Import shell.
  • Reinforce the islands.
  • Experiment with decoys.

UPDATE: Experts think this is a long shot and that I have a better chance of dealing with the Pooks by poisoning them. But an even better idea is Chick Shelters!