Katiki Penguin Trust Annual report July 2008
I treated 2 tiny Yellow eyed penguin chicks at the nest this season and had 48 Yellow eyed penguins, 7 Little Blues and one Rock Hopper in care. I also had a juvenile NZ black shag that successfully begged food off a Yellow Eyed Penguin parent and a Stewart Island shag that died.
Of the 48 Yellow eyed penguins, 10 were pre-fledge, failing to thrive at the nest; either sick or abandoned by their parents, 32 were juveniles with a range of injuries or starving, and 6 were injured adults.
Once again, juveniles came into care in June, suffering from a fungal infection that prevented them from swallowing food.
3 of the hospitalised Yellow Eyed penguins died and two were euthanized. One little blue penguin died after vomiting up a nail.
There were 18 nests at Barracouta bay this season.
All had two eggs and two lots of eggs failed to hatch.
Two chicks died when still tiny and one died in January. 27 chicks fledged, giving a fledging ratio of 1.5.
At Barracouta bay, as at Katiki point, only 2 out of every 3 2006 breeders returned to breed this season.
Once again tiny chicks got sick and 2 were treated at the nest in November.
I did the usual habitat maintenance. I trapped 4 cats, 16 ferrets and 1 stoat in the Barracouta Bay reserve.
The spotted shags had a successful breeding season this year after a bit of a late start.
Track work and weed control continue. We had 26 Yellow Eyed Penguin nests this season. With the 40% of new breeders this year, we had 4 nests with single eggs and 4 nests abandoned. 37 chicks fledged, giving a fledging ratio of 1.4.
The dry season meant less roundup and more rabbits. I trapped 11 cats, 6 ferrets and 19 stoats in the reserve. I have not added any more nest boxes this season because of the pressure on the penguins by people. Instead, I am developing habitat around the corner in Keepers Bay, which is on private property so the birds can enjoy some level of protection.
It has been a great season for the Little Blue penguins this year. Not only did we have several double clutches on the island, there are nests in rabbit holes on the point now, where chicks have been successfully raised.
Tourist numbers have been very high again this year. Most of them continue to respect the chance to see both penguins and a seal breeding colony, but as we have come to expect, there are a number of destructive visitors who ignore the signs and the animal rights of the residents and thoughtlessly, indulge themselves by harassing the animals.
Foreign visitors are more likely to think that sorry has some meaning for wildlife, but New Zealanders prefer the belligerent, bullying response to any intervention with their behaviour. They think that their decision to behave badly gives them the right to insult me and the volunteers at will. For the first time this year people urinating on the reserve and in the car park was a problem. The area around the hide smelt badly throughout the summer.
Makiko from Japan stayed through to October 2007 and during the first week in January, 10 volunteers from the Blue Ridge wildlife institute in the USA came for a day.
Steffen from Germany came for 10 weeks from January to April and Natalie from Florida came for 2 weeks in early February. Dan from Auckland came for 2 weeks and Vince from Wellington for a week in April.
Jill from Dunedin came up for a day with a friend in June. Thank you very much to all of you. I continue to donate about 1000 hours a year.
Throughout the summer, the breeding pair in nest 25 entertained the tourists in the hide by raising their chicks in front of the hide and then placing them under the hide during the post-guard phase.
It was this proximity to the hide that saved the females life when she sustained a nasty injury when trapped by her flipper band. She was spotted by a tourist in June and reported to me. I was able to stem the arterial blood flow, prevent infection in the gaping wound and release her a week later.