At low tide the Yellow-eyed penguins have to cross the foreshore rocks on their way to fishing. This isn't always easy and careful negotiations are needed to reach the water.
We put these boxes with traps inside throughout the Yellow-eyed penguin colony to catch introduced stoats and ferrets. The penguins love sitting on them and most are surrounded by penguin pooh. There is something about sitting on top of a box that they just can't resist!
Some penguins choose strange friends. Here a couple of Yellow-eyed penguins at the end of their moult (that's why they are skinny) are hanging out with a New Zealand fur seal on the foreshore. There is no evidence that seals eat Yellow-eyed penguins (they do eat Little penguins) but on land they are safe regardless. Food is in the ocean so even if your 'food' walks past you on land there is no instinct to eat it - it is a bit like when you meet someone and you can't place them because you usually see them in a different setting. So these penguins are quite safe despite sitting so close to a big marine mammal!
Here is a moulting Yellow-eyed penguin couple at about the same stage of the moult. They raised their chicks, then fattened up, then spend 4 weeks ashore with each other moulting. This is an important part of the pair bond maintenance and those pairs that managed to coordinate this are much less likely to divorce than those that either don't overlap or can't find each other during the moult. So, who moults together, stays together! With such a bad-hair-month it's got to last!
The moult is over and the Yellow-eyed penguins have started mate-shopping. Every once in a while they will stay home for the day and sit near a nest site they are claiming as theirs. Here these two were sitting round together on the foreshore all day enjoying each other's company and the view. They did not let the seals bother them and they were not bothered by them - there is a female New Zealand fur seal suckling her pup in the background.
Every once in a while we come across a visitor in the forest: here a sea lion is crashing a penguin party. New Zealand sea lions are natural predators of yellow-eyed penguins and will kill and eat them at sea occasionally. However, on land sea lions don't expect to eat so the penguins are quite safe although they tend to move out of the way when a sea lions wants to come through.
It's winter routine now for the Yellow-eyed penguins and they go fishing most days and sometimes stay out longer than one day so not everyone comes home every night. When they do they hang out and talk to each other and those that don't have a mate are strutting about trying to impress someone.