It is the middle of winter here and the summer seems a long time away, so here is a photo to remind us what our penguin work is all about: a couple of fluffy yellow-eyed penguin chicks poking out from under dad here. Ah, how cute is that!
This is a very special yellow-eyed penguin: he is Diesel Dick's son-in-law, which means he was mated with Diesel's first daughter. (Diesel was the founding father of one of our colonies who himself was rehabilitated many times but produced 39 chicks in his lifetime). Unfortunately Mrs 116 disappeared about a year ago aged 23 years old and we saw him around for a while but then not so much. He is also very, very old: at least 25 years this year, and we thought that he had passed away. And then we found him again and he was again in need of a little top-me-up during the moult. He is gentle soul who knows the routine. And so he should. He has now been rehabilitated 5 times in the last 4 years but he has also produced another 4 chicks in those years. Not bad for an old fella, eh?
It was all happening on the beach that evening: lots of running round, chasing, screaming and shouting, snogging and just plain old preening while more and more penguins arrived on the beach. This is what yellow-eyed penguins beaches should look like: lots of penguins to have social interactions with. It reminds us what we are working for 12 months a year. It's worth it when you are allowed to feast your eyes on this!
Usually the penguins are quite far away when they are porpoising in towards the colony and take it slower as they approach the beach. This yellow-eyed penguin was in a rush though to get to the beach party and was still jumping out of the water when it was maybe 60m away. It's a stunning sight!
These yellow-eyed penguins were going home fast: there was a beach party going on and they wanted to be part of it. We spotted them well offshore porpoising home but as soon as they come near the beach they put the brakes on and slow down to check out what's happening on the beach.
During winter we sometimes spot our yellow-eyed penguins as they make their way home from fishing - not just down on the beach but we might even get a glimpse of them walking through the forest. They certainly were somewhat intrigued by the stranger hiding behind some trees! They really are quite nosy!
Our yellow-eyed penguins do like to hang out in their houses, even if they have no eggs or chicks. This is a young female who decided to stay home for the day and take a day off.
Yellow-eyed penguins are such sociable birds and keen to talk to each other and spend time on the beach. Here a penguin is greeting a new arrival on the beach and accompanies it through the crowd!
The young yellow-eyed penguin male that featured a little while ago here was found again in the same spot where we found him the first time. He was feeling very unwell and had been waiting for us for a while. It was thanks to one of our diligent volunteers who found him and he was easily caught. He only spent 5 days in rehab to clear up his fungal throat infection and then we let him go again. Notice too how his right foot has now completely healed.
A penguin's stomach is between his ankles....hence the waddle. Looks like this adult yellow-eyed penguin had a good day's fishing with a beautiful full pouch between his legs.