In the “Pāteke survival guide”
Pāteke flock sites are extremely varied and can occur in the following situations:
- Estuaries—both in mature mangroves and in areas just upstream of the salt water wedge. Birds prefer to roost beneath overhead cover, e.g., mature mangroves, pohutukawa, mānuka/kānuka, exotics such as willow and Elaeagnus, and sometimes dense ground-cover such as kikuyu overhanging undercut banks (c.f. rank kikuyu being unsuitable for foraging - see previous chapters).
- Streams—areas where there are deep open areas of water, also generally with overhanging trees, tree roots and on relatively gentle-sloping banks, usually at the bottom of a catchment.
- Ponds—usually large ponds of 50 m or more in length, but smaller ponds can have small flocks or families of pāteke .
Key requirements for viable flock sites:
- Sites not disturbed by people, vehicles, pets. Consider formal protection, e.g. covenants.
- Larger sites better and permanently deep-water areas of 1 metre or more.
- Access to and from roosting banks which are not overgrown with vegetation—an alternative is to provide artificial roosts, e.g. floating rafts.
- Predator control essential - see next chapter.
- Overhead cover is a benefit from aerial predators.
- Creating artificial ponds is a viable option for pāteke if there is a shortage of good flock sites. However, avoid making ponds above wetland feeding areas as this may effectively dry out the wetlands below—ponds at the bottom of catchments allow the wetland hydrology to remain intact and also provide a settlement area to improve water quality.