The miracle of birth — or the miracle of hatching — occurred last week when Hauraki Coromandel Post visited the last of the dotterel nests at Waihi Beach.
Waihi Beach's proud new dotterel parents Zig and Zag had their first of three chicks, Stardust, hatch on Thursday. Stardust was then joined by Rebel and the two were running about the cordoned off area by the end of the day. Spider, the third chick, then hatched.
But hopes were not high for their survival and sure enough, two chicks were lost to cat attacks in 48 hours.
Waihi Beach Dot Watch volunteer Pippa Coombes says it would have been a miracle had they survived.
The birds have now abandoned the nest and moved on to Brighton Reserve, Pippa says, which has more foot traffic.
Waihi Beach was the last dotterel nest in the area, with chicks from Waihi Beach to Bowentown. All the other nests have been destroyed by predators.
It's been a devastating season for the environmental group, which has been doing its best to keep people, pets and predators away.
Zig and Zag set up their home at popular Waihi Beach's main north beach right in front of Waihi Beach Surf Lifeguard Services. It's been a struggle to keep people and their animals away from the nesting area, administration manager and Dot Watch volunteer Mel Gearon says.
The lifeguards were wonderful, she says, sprinting out to direct people away from the birds. Sandbags were put close to the nest to curb the tide and signs were out.
The two dotterels — which are among 2500 New Zealand dotterels left — kept guard on their chicks as best as they could. They try to scare humans away and sometimes even fake injury to distract people.
Dot Watch had seen many dogs still off their leads and cat prints leading up to the nest every day. They ask for dogs to be on leads and to keep local cats inside at night at Brighton reserve and any other dotterel nest areas that may pop up along the shore.
"From dusk until dawn is when they are most vulnerable."
Other predators that put eggs and chicks at risk are hedgehogs, rats and the black-backed seagull.
They're hoping the birds re-nest again in December.
There are about five dotterel pairs in the area and more are expected to come next year from Coromandel.