The beaches at the Parangarahu Lakes and the Eastbourne foreshore (Robinson Bay) are important nesting sites for the nationally vulnerable tuturiwhatu/banded dotterel. Since 2013, MIRO, Greater Wellington, Hutt City Council and Taranaki Whānui have been working together to manage these two coastal-breeding populations of the banded dotterel. Management actions include intensive predator control together with protective fencing of nest sites, warning signage and the use of a temporary Rāhui at the Parangarahu Lakes foreshore to reduce disturbance during the breeding season. Surprisingly the number one predator is hedgehogs, with mustelids and possums following close behind. Storm action and then human disturbance are the next reasons for nest failures.
In order to gain a better understanding of the outcomes of this management, MIRO have gained permission to combine the existing nest success monitoring work with a project to catch and band a sample of locally-breeding adults and fledglings over four breeding seasons (between 2016 and 2020). This will enable MIRO to collect data on the local survival rates of chicks between hatching and fledging, local survival rates of adult birds, return rates of locally-fledged birds and winter movements of both adults and juveniles. Four seasons of banding and re-sighting work is considered necessary to provide robust estimates of local adult and chick survival, allowing us to ‘average out’ any inter-annual fluctuations in survival rates. Furthermore, juvenile dotterels begin breeding at 1–2 years of age, so banding juveniles over four seasons will provide us with the opportunity to monitor return rates over 2–3 subsequent breeding seasons, again providing MIRO with a robust ‘average’ return rate, assuming some inter-annual variation is likely to occur.