Dotterel Guardians Dale Griffin, Gabrielle Young, Anne Woodley, Sally Horwood and Sherryn El Bakary making sure dogs are out of the way at Onetangi Beach. Inset: Storky. Shelley Wood Photography

Waihekeans have once again come together to help a family of dotterels nesting at Onetangi Beach. In spite of the recent extreme weather and relatively little help from authorities, residents have gone the extra mile to protect their new neighbours.

In early December, a family of dotterels made Onetangi Beach their home. The pair hatched a chick, Storky. A volunteer used the nickname first and nobody has questioned it since.

The watch is led by the Waiheke Dotterels Guardians Group, including Anne Woodley from Wildlife on Waiheke, Terra and Tide owner Gabrielle Young and Native Bird Rescue’s Karen Saunders, who give updates on the dotterels on the Waiheke Community Notice Board Facebook group.

“They started nesting in December, but we didn’t have very good results on unprotected areas around the island before,” says Anne.

In other areas, like Church Bay and Matarahui, despite about eight to nine attempted nestings, only two chicks have hatched.

“Each time, a dotterel needs to lay about three eggs,” says Anne.

“So I didn’t think we would have very good results at Onetangi with all the people and the dogs running around. Despite what I thought of those three eggs, one chick hatched.”

The dotterel family’s rare behaviours cause volunteers to wonder about them.

“They’re extremely relaxed towards people. They don’t feel threatened and don’t make their usual sound around people.” • Silvia Massa.

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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