Hello friends and family
Mel and Rachael came up on Sunday and with Mel’s guidance, I was able to get my Transponder permit updated and so now I can continue to mark penguins as needed. The system had been upgraded in 2018 but no-one had told me so now that problem is fixed! I gave them the 2 dead chicks in the freezer to take back for post-mortem – before they left, I weighed them. To my horror they had lost weight, so it was possible starvation played a role in their deaths.
Knowing this, we have begun weighing all the chicks to prevent this happening again. We weighed the doubles on Tuesday and found 2 nests with underweight chicks and then the singles on Thursday where we found more underweight chicks. If they weigh in the normal range, we will check them weekly, but if they are underweight, we will weigh them 3 times a week. The chicks from Tuesday had put on weight by Thursday, but not enough to get them out of the danger zone. Some will be coming into care. The question is not if, but when. We want them to stay in the wild for as long as possible.
As well as busy penguins, we have had thousands of sea birds feeding close to shore – gulls, terns, shags, gannets and petrels. We think they have come down here to escape the murky waters further north from when the Canterbury rivers flooded, closed all the roads and spilled silt into the ocean. They appeared to be eating Pilchards which are normally only found further north.
Wednesday was my day at the Top-tip and I was back there again on Friday evening for the Dump Christmas party. After that event, Robbie and I went north to be part of a Long-Tailed Bat excursion. There were about 50 people and it was a very enjoyable evening even though we did not see any live bats. Elaine and Hiltrun came on the Saturday round and all the chicks were just fine, although one had not put on any weight.
This time last week we had no internet because flooding had taken out the cable. Here at the lighthouse, we have had only 5 mm of rain so far this month.
Have a great week!