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Effect of water levels on the seasonal use of Lake Wairarapa by waders

  • Publication Type

    Journal Article

  • Publication Year


  • Author(s)

    H.A. Robertson; B.D. Heather

  • Journal Name


  • Volume, Issue

    46, 1

  • Pagination


  • Article Type



conservation; lake management; Lake Wairarapa; Waders; water levels

Effect of water levels on the seasonal use of Lake Wairarapa by waders

Notornis, 46 (1), 79-88

H.A. Robertson; B.D. Heather (1999)

Article Type: paper



The eastern shore of Lake Wairarapa is a nationally important site for waders. The monthly distributions of eleven species of wader and of White-faced Herons (Ardea novaehollandiae) are presented from monthly counts between November 1983 and October 1994. Numbers of Spur-winged Plovers (Vanellus miles) increased dramatically during this period. Water levels in this shallow freshwater lake vary with regional rainfall, the management of floodgates at the outlet of the lake, and wind direction and strength. Numbers of Pied Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Banded Dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus) and Black- fronted Dotterel (C. melanops), for which the lake is an important wintering site, declined once the water level rose over about 10.3 m above an imaginary reference point (datum), and also declined below about 9.95 m above datum. Our findings confirm the importance of managing lake levels and we discuss how these data were used in setting operating levels for a water right application to operate the floodgates at the outlet of the lake.