We are quietly creeping about the Yellow-eyed penguin colonies to find eggs while trying to not disturb the penguins. It mostly worked but we came across these two, interrupting them in whatever was going on - it was not clear whether it was courting or a territorial dispute. They were a little put out to have us there, so I snapped a quick photo and we moved away to leave them to their political machinations. So far we have found 26 pairs with eggs in the two colonies - quite pleased with that but hoping for loads more of course. Mid October is the end of laying so they have 3 weeks to get it together.
We have our first eggs - on Tuesday 15 Sept and with that the breeding season has begun again. It is rare that Yellow-eyed penguins lay before mid September so we start our egg-hunt on the 15th to get lay dates. This allows us to calculate expected hatch dates. The adult - usually the male - does not sit on the egg properly until the second egg arrives 3-4 days later. This ensures that the chicks hatch within 24 hours of each other and are the same size. No one has an unfair advantage and both chicks are raised. We are very excited and are looking forward to finding lots more eggs on our twice-weekly rounds! Yeah - new penguins are being created as I write this.
This is our wondertruck: we spent the winter doing habitat work and machinery like the weedeater and chainsaws, fences, plants, nest boxes, plant protectors, loppers, warratah bangers and much more was transported to the penguin colonies on the back of the wondertruck. Much of our work could not have been achieved without this unsung heroine (yes, it's a girl of course). With her fancy new wheels she didn't get us stuck once: she is one of our most indispensable volunteers - bless her!
It's that time when a lot of courting is happening in our Yellow-eyed penguin colony. Many birds are now staying home during the day occupying - and thus claiming - a nest site, building a nest bowl, having territory disputes with the neighbour and of course snogging the mate!