Now here is a mercurial yellow-eyed penguin lady. She is five years old and is on mate number 3 this season. This one may be a keeper: he was hatched in 2004 and that makes him 16 years old. He has bred many times in the past, although not recently as his mate ran off with a neighbour. He evidently was able to woo Bequette and they now have a couple of fertile eggs due in early November.
This 5-year old female yellow-eyed penguin is back with her old mate - new house though. They have a couple of fertile eggs that are due to hatch in the first week of November. She is extra-special because was sponsored as a chick and has now been breeding for three years. There are never guarantees with chick sponsorships because many chicks don't make it back but sometimes a sponsor gets lucky and gets to follow the full life of one of these long-lived penguins.
Hatching has started and we have about a dozen tiny tots in our colonies. They are way too small to take any photos to share, and we are now super busy monitoring them closely to see if they have Diphtheria. All fingers and toes crossed, the penguins have started breeding early and that's usually a sign for a good year.
This is doubly-loved yellow-eyed penguin pair with both adults sponsored. They have moved house - a little downhill, but closer to the landing site and they have a couple of beautiful eggs. Incidentally, Goldenglimmer who lives down the hill from them, is their chick from two years ago, so she has moved into mum and dad's neighbourhood!
This experienced male yellow-eyed penguin had a sit out last season because unfortunately he wife from the previous season had died - presumably of Malaria. He attracted an older female from down the hill and they now have a couple of beautiful eggs. She was a little unlucky in that it was her chick that was killed by a predator last summer. Hopefully all goes well this season: all fingers and toes crossed!
This young yellow-eyed penguin female who was adopted as a juvenile has also chosen a young, inexperienced mate who had built a nest under a flax bush. If you ever wondered what a natural nest looks like, well here is a beautiful example. They are sheltered and private so there is no need for us to improve on it. They have a couple of beautiful eggs and soon we will find out whether they are fertile after we candle them.
Can you spot her? Not every pair of yellow-eyed penguins is sensible and nests in a pre-made house....this young couple - literally - disappeared into the bushes and built a nest there. We were not that impressed but the young female seemed to have been and she laid the young male a couple of eggs. How they choose a mate we don't know and it is puzzling: right next door is an older, much more experienced male with a beautiful big house! We decided that this young pair needed a proper roof and gave them a house - very carefully and they seem ok with it - update soon!
Another yellow-eyed penguin lady who unfortunately lost her mate - we actually found him dead and suspected Malaria. From the crop of handsome bachelors she picked a four-year old (she herself is only three) who has never bred before. So she has a little bit more experience with incubation and small chicks but of course we had to take her chicks away last season to protect them from predators. Afterall one chick got killed fairly close to hers last year. So it was a relatively easy year for her, and now she has a new house, a new mate and new eggs. Welcome back!
This female yellow-eyed penguin unfortunately lost her mate last season - we have not found him in the last few weeks. He had been marked as an adult so we don't know his age or origin. Janet in the meantime had the pick of the bachelors and chose the boy from down the road who also lost his mate. We are very happy that both have found a mate and get to hopefully raise a family this year.
She is back with her mate from last season but in new house. These two were one of the three unfortunate pairs who had one of their chicks killed by a predator last summer. We whisked the other one away into rehab and it fledged successfully. Our trapping has improved over this year and fingers crossed this won't happen again!
It is never guaranteed that sponsored boxes will be used and although we choose boxes that are used at the time, they can then stand empty for a year or three. This box was occupied by a single male when it was sponsored, but he moved away into a different one and bred with Ciara. They moved back into his old bachelor pad and now they have two eggs again. That's the good news. The bad news is the sponsorship has faded from this box - but it remains the "Wild Shack" for the season - it's no. 13.