Not much is happening in our colonies right now. Everyone is happily sitting on their eggs - real or not. It's like the calm before storm. Once the chicks start hatching - very soon - the parents will be so much busier and that is when things are difficult for us: it's Diphtheria time. Fingers crossed it's not going to be a bad year. We will see.
This adult male was here in the same spot last year and built a nest just beside a path - just like last year. We thought we give him something to worry about and popped a dummy egg in his nest when he was away fishing. He never went back - last year and again this year. This egg-thing was just not doing it for him. He is however running round after a pretty juvenile (let's hope it is a female) - so maybe he is hoping she will pick him for her first mate. Penguin politics: very intriguing.
This is a popular box for both breeding and chicks but it looks like this boy has lost his mate. He has neighbours and to keep their eggs and chicks safe, we are occupying him with his very own egg. Looks like he is getting the summer off from feeding chicks - we are sure he would rather raise a family but that's not going to happen without a mate! Next year again maybe!
Yellow-eyed penguins lay 2 eggs about 3 days apart but the chicks on the same day generally because the parents don't incubate the first egg properly until the second one has arrived. They sit on them in a half-crouch to guard them. Once they have the second egg, incubation can start in earnest and way they go. The chicks hatch on the same day and are therefore the same size and one does not outcompete the other because it is a few days earlier out of the egg.
He is an old favourite and has a fabulous new (old) nest site: a cave in the side of the hill. They used it a few years ago and when it rained water dribbled onto them while they were on the nest. So we build a special roof for the pair and they managed to raise their chicks ok. They moved into the forest for a couple of years and now they are back in their penguin cave and here he is sitting happily on his two brand-new eggs! Good on you Odd Simen - great choice!
For some reason we worry about some birds more than others, and it is usually our young females we worry about the most, those that bred for the first time and maybe we haven't seen for a while or we not able to identify through the moult. Thor (yes, she is a mighty girl) is one of those. She was only two, had one chick (we helped in the end) but we were not positive that we had seen her through the moult. Her mate was older and very, very sick with Malaria and he spent a lot of time in rehab but survived and was released. Unfortunately we have not seen him since but Thor has not been idle and picked up another male and they now have two eggs. We were so very, very relieved that she is back and looking fab.
We have a new sponsor who has been patiently waiting for news about their chosen nest box - as have others who have previously sponsored nest boxes. Thank you all for your kindness and support for the penguins. Here is a list of previously sponsored nest boxes in use this season:
Uncle Chang's box
We have no say in which box the penguins will set up home so we cannot guarantee that a sponsored box will be used. If a penguin is in a sponsored box and I manage to get a photo, I will post it here on FB.
Thank you all!
She is Jackson's sister and has run off with the neighbour. He has been a bachelor for a long time and finally gets to raise chicks. Bequette and her mate did not overlap during their moult. She moulted with her new mate and when her old mate finally arrived to moult he was very sick and had to spend most of his moult in rehab. He survived and is busy incubating a dummy egg. This will prevent him from egg-envy and trying to take over the nest and the eggs of his old mate.
We realise we are not the only ones who wait with fingers crossed to see who has made it through to this breeding season: our kind sponsors of penguins also want to know. Here is a picture of Danni who has returned to her old nest and has two brand-new eggs. We will post pictures of other sponsored penguins in the coming weeks but for now here is a run-down who is still round (list of sponsored boxes to come....):
Ciara has a new mate
Bri has a new mate
Stitches is with her previous mate
Poppy has a new mate
Chicky is with her previous mate
Vivek is with a new mate (no eggs yet, she is always last to lay)
Stewie Junior has a new mate
Jackson is with his old mate and is incubating fostered eggs
Dylan is single (widowed) his mate died of Malaria
Bequette has a new mate
Janet has a new mate
Thor has a new mate
Morgan is with his old mate
Odd Simen is with his old mate
This three-year old has done very well last year. She laid two fertile eggs - pretty good for a first-timer - and both hatched. While she was only two years old last year and a very precious young female we decided to adopt one of her chicks to Jackson and his mate (two boys) who raised it beautifully. Chicky and her mate did very well with their chick as well and they moulted without any help from us. Now she is back and on her first egg. Well done, little one, this was a difficult year and you made it!