Portrait of gorgeousness.....
Moulted and moulting
Even through the moult do the yellow-eyed penguins court and run around after each other - at times. No idea who these two are but they were seen wandering around on the landing near the beach - the scruffiness of one did not seem to put off the moulted - and thus gorgeous other!
That can't be comfortable
It's getting quiet in our yellow-eyed penguin colonies and the adults have mostly finished moulting and are out fishing most days. Sorting through some photos from this past season - and remembering how CUTE the chicks are - here is one to share. Maybe it's a Dali chick?
We saw Bequette moult with a bird and assumed it was her mate but alas later we found she was hanging with the bachelor neighbour. So where was her mate? Finally we found him just starting the moult almost 2 weeks ago in his box - Bequette had long finished. He looked "flat" to us and weighed only 6.5kg so we brought him into rehab for a top up. When we got there we also noticed he had a small puncture wound on his thigh so it's been salmon + antibiotics for him and he is doing much better. Soon he will look and feel his best and can take on the task of winning back his mate who has strayed! We will find out who Bequette chooses for next season in September!
It's been a long season for the penguins - and us - and it's good to take a day off. Here a yellow-eyed penguin pair is just hanging out for the day instead of fishing.
Ciara's acrobatic brother
Every family has one: a clown, an acrobat, a show-off. This young male was not doing wonderful in the field and was in rehab for a little top up but evidently had enough of all this: he's tried to get out and has managed to climb onto the wee ledge in one of our pens. He was pretty good at walking along it as well. It was obvious that he was better and it was time he went back to the wild. Let's hope his acrobatics impress a young lady out there and he'll manage to produce some agile wee chicks next season.
Kind people picked up this wee fella off the beach in Karitane where it was staggering about not being able to walk because s/he was so weak. They called us and we met up to take him to our rehab facility. S/he is probably a fledgling that didn't work out how to fish. S/he has now got a second chance as s/he rallied nicely and has a good appetite: even eating out of the hand - and nothing will stand between it and the fish, not even the moulting cell mate!
She is not particularly old - 9 years in fact - but she often struggles to raise chicks. One chick might work, but two? No. She and her mate only had one chick this season and raised Rex until they gave up and then we took over. Rex has been released and has gone to sea now - fingers crossed he has learnt how to fish - and his mum was not quite fat enough - so she gets the usual: TLC, salmon top up and the all important blood test for Malaria. She'll be good to go very soon - her mate is waiting for her in the colony and it will be good to reunite them so their pair bond does not break.
Three years ago a kind sponsor named two chicks: Jackson and Bequette and luck had it that both came back. Bequette - being a girl - had no trouble finding a mate - but Jackson as a young male had a bit of trouble, until he shacked up with an older male. We always need foster parents for eggs and he and his mate raised one of Chicky's eggs this season and it fledged naturally - no need for any help from us. Jackson's mate is in their house moulting, but Jackson looked a bit skinny so he is in rehab for some TLC, blood test and a top up. He is almost finished with the moult, and will return to the colony and his mate very soon - surely the mate will be super impressed with the gorgeous coat he is wearing now!!
Stitches and her mate
Those of you who have been following us for a while will know Stitches and how precious she is to us. She has been rehabilitated many times, most notably as a juvenile and young adult, and she has come back to breed. Unfortunately she did not get to raise any chicks this season so we hadn't identified her since November and did not know where she was moulting - it wasn't near her nest. These two got picked up because they did not look quite fat enough for the stage of the moult - and behold it was Stitches and her mate. They are now safely in rehab, getting tested to make sure they are ok, fattened up a little and then they get to head out again. We were relieved and delighted!