When you own a house on a hillside and you are planning a family, it's good to have a decent verandah so the kids don't fall down the hill....
This yellow-eyed penguin pair has chosen a house on a steep hillside and overtime the front had worn away - not a problem for the parents, but once they have excitable chicks that dance about after meals, there is the danger they fall down and into the bushes and can't get back up. So we have built them a verandah with a wee barrier that hopefully will keep the chicks safe. Now all they have to do it lay eggs!!!
ehm, sorry, I meant to say the yellow-eyed penguin pair that has made it's home in the box sponsored by Uncle Chang has laid an egg....phew. We are a little excited because the laying of eggs is now in full swing. So far so good: we have a total of 38 pairs with eggs and we are hoping for more.
The good news is that we have a number of 2-year pretty young things on eggs who have paired up with some of our lonely males. The bad news is that we haven't seen some of our old girls. They could be taking their time, they know the drill and we hope they just show up and lay those eggs, and that's that. No fuss.
It's exciting and a little stressful for us, so we practice to trust the birds and be patient.
It is always slightly alarming when someone comes barrelling out of the bushes and onto the beach to say hello. The two yellow-eyed penguins on the right were just making their way across the beach (from right to left) when Mr Enthusiasm here comes rushing towards them. They turned on their heels and headed the other way......top points for trying though for Mr Enthusiasm!!
They do like to sit tall on something and ..... downhill. Here a pair of yellow-eyed penguins are at home for the day - our guess is that it's him in the nest in the background (showing her how well he would sit on her precious eggs) and she is outside just hanging out on her favourite - yah, what is that?? It's the cover for a predator trap - no trap in case they upend it and step into it. Interesting home decor??
It looks like this box may be picked again by this breeding pair of yellow-eyed penguins. They successfully raised a couple of chicks last year in this sponsored box. Eggs are not far away now and soon it will be time for the females to make up their minds which box it is going to be for the season: females get to choose because they lay the eggs and eggs can't be moved once laid! So lady's choice it is! The boys often build more than one nest for her to pick - these two have a second house they are eyeing up - we will see soon enough which one she approves of more!!
The yellow-eyed penguins have eggs in Moeraki! We had a look around in our colonies yesterday to see if egg laying had started and found three females had their first egg. So, summer has started!
This female is "Mandy", one of our sponsored females who is usually one of the first ones to lay eggs, and she did not disappoint. The male had gone fishing and Mandy is hovering protectively over her first egg. They won't incubate properly until the second egg is laid 3-4 days after the first so that the chicks hatch on the same day.
(P.S. Mandy is "Thor's" mum, one of our sponsored chicks from last season....)
This adult yellow-eyed penguin was taking a day off and we found him/her enjoying the sunshine out in the open. What a gorgeous bird!!
After 3 weeks of TLC, our intrepid juvenile yellow-eyed penguin was released back into the penguin colony weighing a healthy 5.7kg. Although he has been in care a number of times, he is always keen to get away again when we release him. This time we released him in early afternoon so he could go and hang with the other penguins in the colony and go to sea with them in the morning. Lets hope it works! We are confident that he will be back if he is in trouble again - clever!
These two yellow-eyed penguin adults met up in the surf on the way home and paddled around with each other for a while before deciding which wave to catch to land on the beach. They are very sociable birds that love saying giddaye to each other even while swimming in the surf.
This yellow-eyed penguin juvenile came home mid morning to sit in the sun for the rest of the day. As you can see s/he is nice and chubby and had no care in the world but to sit there and preen. Good work - fishing must be good?!