First eggs of the season
The yellow-eyed penguins certainly made us wait but finally the first eggs have arrived. Here is female from Jacob Thompson's box from last year (her mate died of Malaria) in Uncle Chang's box where she has shacked up with Stewie Junior. We have not been able to identify Ciara yet but hope she has moved into the forest a wee bit with an attractive bachelor there. We will find out soon enough. So far we have 12 females having laid eggs - loads more to come we hope - fingers crossed.
A really old box
We haven't seen anyone but seal pups use this box but it looks like this pair has taken a liking for it. They certainly have brought in loads of sticks: that's gotto to impress the lady. After all it is the female who decides in the end where to lay the eggs - once laid they can't be shifted (not by penguins anyway!!!)
There has been no breeding in this box for years and years. It was the patch of one bachelor after the other but none were able to attract a mate. It looks like it may have changed - although compared to some of the other nests, this one needs a bit more furnishings!
Someone has been busy
We sneak around in our yellow-eyed penguin colonies to spy if we can find any eggs. Nothing so far but they can't be far off. By this time last year we were already well into it but that was really unusual. Here we have a pair that has been super busy carrying in all those cabbage tree leaves. Soon there will be eggs no doubt!
In the weekend on our rounds of our yellow-eyed penguin colonies we encountered this group: two adults and four juveniles. We were very excited because the youngsters looked great and it was only 1:30 in the afternoon and they had already returned to the colony. Food must be good and it gives us a glimmer of hope for the future!
When you are this gorgeous -
surely a handsome fella like this beautiful yellow-eyed penguin male will be able to find a mate and make fluffy chicks. The penguins are looking good, well fed and so far quite relaxed. The running round, showing off, building nests and all the other pre-breeding activities are not quite in full swing yet, but soon the females will choose which of the nests her mate has prepared she will lay the eggs. So the boys need to get on with it if they want to impress her.
Enjoying the evening sun
During the winter months the yellow-eyed penguins take it easy. It's like a holiday for them as they don't have to tend any eggs or feed chicks. Their minds though might be turning now to the business of breeding, finding a mate, prepare a nest site, fend of intruders and competitors. Not long now until we are expecting our first eggs - about mid September.