Our trail cameras are revealing amazing behaviour of yellow-eyed penguins - not only are not solitary on land but choose to hang out in a group after returning from fishing, but also the juveniles also appear to be fully integrated into the penguin society.
Notice how an enthusiastic penguin is coming in from the right and does a sky-point ( = "giddaye howzit going??") to someone who does not appreciate it. The ensuing discussion causes the rest to move out of the way - started initially by a bird quietly slipping out of view on the left when Mr Enthusiasm first shows up!
Apparently a "waddle" is the term used (besides rookery or colony). A group of penguins at sea is a raft.....
So here we have it: a waddle of yellow-eyed penguins....
Some days there are big seas and often the yellow-eyed penguins stay at home on such days. This one braved the ocean and made it home safely with big waves crashing onto the rocks of his favourite beach.
We only have three patients in the hospital at the moment and they are keen eaters. These are juvenile yellow-eyed penguins that fledged in February and they have learnt how to fish but encountered a spot of bother. They appeared 'small' in the colony and when we weighed them they were only 4kg. On closer inspection in our rehab facility it turns out they had bright red throats - easily fixed but left untreated it can develop into aspergillosis which is fatal. They have learnt how to eat nicely now that their throats don't hurt so much. As soon as they are up to weight (6kg) they can go and do their own fishing.
We have had some wild seas recently but it certainly didn't bother these two yellow-eyed penguins returning from fishing. They went back and forth through the surf a few times before riding a wave to the edge of the water and walking out - all rather nonchalant - but then again they are very cool penguins!!
Trail cameras are amazing. There is no way a person could sit on the edge of a beach where yellow-eyed penguins come home and experience them this close and this relaxed. These penguins have just spent the day at sea fishing and have returned home and there is lots of preening to be done and standing round and checking out who else is coming home tonight. Enjoy!
Our Snares Crested penguin has finally dropped her last feathers and was ready to go. She is nicely chubby and was eager to leave and was gone the next day after we opened the pen. She has a long way home but Snares Crested penguins are used to travelling long distances and there is food to be had on the way. She has a chip in her so if anyone comes across a particularly friendly penguin down on the islands they ought to beep her with a transponder reader. It would be so thrilling to have her found!!