Enjoying the evening sun
We have these three yellow-eyed penguin juveniles hanging out on the beach earlier than any of the adults (see also previous post). Here all three are coming over to say hello to a couple of adults that have just arrived home from fishing. These juveniles just want to hang out with the other penguins living in the colony learning the niceties of being a penguin.
After a couple of years of not seeing many juveniles around in our yellow-eyed penguin colonies, we are heartened to see them hanging out on the beach (and seeing them on our spy-cams). This photo was taken about 3pm - they were the first ones home from fishing and were hanging out on the beach waiting for the adults to return as well. It gives us hope that we will see the colony grow again - not this coming season - but the season after that when some of these girls will be ready to breed. In the meantime we keep an eye on them and hope they can avoid getting hurt out there.
Our trail cameras in the yellow-eyed penguin colonies are revealing wonderful natural behaviour of the penguins. Here we have a juvenile arriving on the foreshore with a bunch of adults - it is acting just like a real penguin and is looking fat and healthy. Such a pleasure to behold!
We have been very excited about the number of yellow-eyed penguin juveniles that have returned already. Usually we don't see the young of year until later but so far we have encountered at least a dozen. All our chicks were transpondered and to read the the number we need to be able to get close enough to use the wand. We managed with this one and it turned out that it was the chick from a nest about 15m from where he was sitting - and his parents were home that day as well.
Adults are usually quite tolerant towards juveniles - no yellow line on the head means they are not sexually mature so they are not competition in any way and they get away with sitting in someone else's territory. This one just came home to sit with mum and dad. He obviously knows how to fish judging by his chubbiness!
Every year we have kind supporters who sponsor a yellow-eyed penguin and in return they receive a certificate about the penguin and its history. If the penguin is resighted we feature it here on FB.
This is Vidya on the left who was sponsored as a chick. She was an singleton and fledged naturally at a good weight about 16 February. We found her on her home beach 10 days later and she was bit skinny - obviously not so good at catching fish just yet. But she came back and it gave us an opportunity to fatten her up and give her a second chance. She left again on 22 March but returned 9 days later for another top-up leaving on 4 April at a good weight. This time she was away 16 days but came back and is now getting her third top-up in our pen. She must be catching some fish because she was not desperately thin - but thin enough for some help!
She has another 'repeat-offender' with her in the pen as well as our visitor from the south, the Snares crested penguin. She is not far away from being released again - she knows the routine now: if she can't work it out, she can come back again and again until she manages to look after herself. We check the beaches every day to make sure we find these struggling youngsters - this one is very blessed because there is a special human out there thinking of her! Thank you, kind sponsor!
Visitor from the south
We currently host a Snares crested penguin in our rehab facility who came to us a while back and was so weak that she couldn't stand up. We featured her on 4 April here on FB when she looked great and was about ready to go into the moult. Well, that was 3 weeks ago and as you can see she is now in the middle of the moult and dropping feathers furiously. She is a gentle soul that wants food every day and asks for more if she didn't quite get enough. We microchipped her so she can be identified. Once she leaves she will return to the Snares Island and maybe someone will find her there and be able to id her. Hopefully she will be lliving life to the fullest and making many more Snares crested penguins!