Ewan and Shannon were breeding in this box a couple of years ago - and it looks like it is occupied again - but by whom? Our lock-down is easing tomorrow and soon we can find out who is hanging out where and with whom in our colonies. The penguins have started to stay home and make nests and the first eggs are only a couple of week away. Where did winter go??
Obviously our presence in the penguin colony is reduced to a couple of "penguin-bubble" people during lock-down, so no recent photos from the chief photographer.....but I found this one that I thought was quite amusing: it's a trap for stoats and rats etc and the penguins do like to pooh downhill. We often have chicks on these traps but on this day (quite some time ago) an adult had decided that it's a good idea!
This two-year old was sponsored in the 2019 season and is Otto's chick. We are not too sure whether Hehu is a boy or a girl, but s/he was sleeping in the colony one day, still there two days later - and that's never good. We weighed him/her and s/he was only 3.9kg and had a cloudy left eye. Blood analysis showed an infection AND Malaria. This bird was not well and was hiding in the box in rehab (headache maybe from the Malaria?) A whole lot of pills, salmon and peace and quiet and s/he is coming out of the box now. As s/he is our only patient we put a mirror in the pen for company. Hehu is almost ready to head out again. Phew, that was a close call - s/he would not have made it without a stint with rehab.
Our winter days are spent tidying the penguin reserves, planting trees and analysing the data and information from last season - and we don't usually get to see the penguins (and a paucity of penguin photos). Sometimes we get to hear them in the evening but during the day there is no one home. Even now in mid August we are not seeing them in the colonies just yet (we did last year). These two were a real treat, not only because they were the first adults we had seen in ages but also because they decided they liked this newly minted nest box in a new place. We tried to make it attractive by providing furniture, ie cabbage tree leaves, and until now no takers. On this day this couple decided to hang out in it and try it out for size. We'll find out SHE likes is well enough for her precious eggs some time next month!