Firstly the Okareka’s Dabchick numbers are holding up. We completed our fourth autumn count in early April and got an average of 63 birds over three early morning counts. This is consistent with the last two years. The Tikitapu counts produced an average of 11 birds.
Year Average number of birds
When we did the autumn count in 2013 we had not started the trapping and I think it is safe to say that the numbers show that the trapping makes a difference. This year’s count at Okareka was done by Rod Stace, Jenny Grace, Katie Hodgson, Liz Harding, Steve and Liz Webb, Helen Van Hoof, Dave Scott and Mike Vincent. A special thanks goes to Dave and Grant Phibbs who provided the boats with which we would not have been able to complete the count. Tikitapu was covered by Mike Goodwin and Brian Law.
It will be interesting to see if the numbers of Dabchicks increases, declines or stays the same. My theory is that we have reached capacity for breeding Dabchicks at Okareka for the following reasons:
- Dabchicks do not like neighbours;
- Competition for nest sites. Coots will steal nest sites;
- Limited breeding habitat, and
Hopefully I will be proved wrong and our population will increase. Our other piece of good news is that we have killed our 600th rat which is supplemented by 110 hedgehogs and 27 mustelids (stoats and ferrets). If you have any questions, suggestions or wish to help please contact Mike Vincent on 0274 781 899.