This is also Diesel Dick, another archive photo, here with two of his chicks. He was not only a fearless fighter and protector but also a devoted father: he raised 29 chicks with Sweetpea and another 10 with Jezabel. He was very relaxed around Janice Jones who took this photo, as she had rehabilitated him many times. And his chicks were also chill with her being close.
This is Diesel Dick, the founding father of one of our colonies, in this archive photo. He used to 'own' a headland where he had a nest. Every time another penguin appeared on the beach below he would race down the hill and beat the living daylight out of it. It's him on the left with the bent flipper and on his toes while the hapless visitor is leaning back defensively - yelling his objections. In fact Diesel was so protective about his beach that no one else bred in the colony for 3 years.
What to do? How do you out-smart a penguin? (actually it's not that hard) Bob Jones came up with a brilliant solution: a stockade blocking Diesel's view of the beach. The next year 3 more pairs moved into the colony. A case of 'what you can't see won't bother you'?
Wouldn't it be nice to know what these four are discussing? It was certainly a noisy affair on our yellow-eyed penguin beach with these four having a lively discussion about - what really? Maybe it is just a matter of showing off your shouting skills. Maybe a good shouter makes an impressive mate that will be a good parent? Is it the males shouting here watched by the females or the other way round? Or is this a spat between mates with potential future mates - or maybe neighbours - watching on? There is not really any way for us to know for sure but it's fun speculating!!
Whilst yellow-eyed penguins are labelled anti-social and solitary and we have been providing evidence to the contrary here in that they choose each other's company - they in fact quite enjoy a good old shouting contest. Here we have the beginning of a lively discussion between four adults on the beach in the evening before they all headed up into the colony and home.
When the yellow-eyed penguins return from fishing and are having a party on the beach there is much to shout about and there is the odd disagreement regarding - females maybe? This video starts with a sky-point by one bird and ends up with a lively discussion between all three until one is asked to leave in no uncertain terms! Enjoy
When the party is over on the beach the yellow-eyed penguins line up fairly orderly to head up the landing path into the forest to find their homes or a quiet corner in the colony to spend the night. There is always much preening to be done on the way and no one is in a hurry (unlike in the summer when a mate and/or chicks are waiting!)
Watching the yellow-eyed penguins return after fishing is always delightful but it has been extra special these past couple of weeks when we have spotted a juvenile among the crowd. It is a chick from this past summer (e.g. it was brown and fluffy only 7 months ago like the chicks in the last post) but unfortunately we have no idea WHO is it. It would be too disruptive to try to find out and we want him/her to be comfortable here. S/he is hanging out with the adults like a grown-up - just wonderful.
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!