Autumn 2015

Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust News


A record breeding season for NZ dotterel chicks at Omaha with at least 8 and as many as 13 chicks fledged! The success of the 2014/15 NZ dotterel breeding season has shown the value of the pest proof fence and the on-going work of volunteer trapping and monitoring activities on Omaha Spit.   Predator trapping had been taking place for several years prior to the installation of the pest proof fence and trapping continues on both sides of the fence.

It is encouraging to the Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust volunteers to be making such a useful contribution to the survival of the NZ dotterel population. The dotterels share the Omaha Spit with a breeding population of variable oyster-catchers which also benefit from the predator free environment.

Click for full size image

Click for full size image

A number of other shorebirds rest at high tide on the spit.   Hundreds of bar-tailed godwits can be seen during summer and spring.   Many of the godwits have now left on their long journey back to Alaska to breed.   A very large number of little banded dotterels are now present at high tide.   Also seen on the spit this year have been large flocks of white-fronted terns, pied stilts and southern pied oyster-catchers.

Despite this season's success, predators, storm damage and human activity caused the loss of many eggs and chicks.   Predators such as rodents, hedgehogs, stoats and weasels have been almost eliminated inside the Sanctuary, but there are still occasional incursions along the estuary.

Camera surveillance has shown that aerial predators (black-backed gulls and harriers) are still a major threat and work is continuing to overcome this problem.

People walking in and around nesting areas remains a concern.  There are tape fences erected around nesting areas and visitors are asked to stay outside them.  Any intrusion on the shoreline may endanger young chicks and often nests are located outside the taped areas.

Click for full size image

Thank you to local residents who have been helpful in providing guidance to summer visitors and reminding them that camping and dogs are not permitted. This applies to the whole of North Omaha Reserve, both inside and outside the pest proof fence. Everyone is encouraged to read the informative panels at the entrances to the Sanctuary and to learn more about our endangered species and the importance of the Sanctuary so that we may continue to provide a safe and secure haven for all of our shorebirds

If you would like to join the team of trappers and monitors please email the Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust at:

For more information and details of how you can help visit

Thanks to Richard Goodenough for the beautiful photos.