Hello friends and family
The bitterly cold winds continued until Tuesday morning. Here we got no rain, which means the trees took another hammering and even more leaves will drop off. The ground is rock hard. Chris and Hiltrun came up on Sunday lunchtime and we spent the afternoon down the hill as it was too windy to go to Okahau Point (the proper name for the Barracouta Bay reserve that I will try to remember to use from now on!). We came home when the penguins returned from fishing.
Tom joined us for more tree work on Monday morning and then in the afternoon we hosted the Yellow-eyed penguin Stocktake team. This is a group of 4 people charged with identifying current issues for YEPs and gathering stake-holder opinions. It had the potential to be very difficult, but Bruce the Chair set a professional tone and we were able to express our opinions about the current problems. I felt listened too which is rare with penguin people not part of Penguin Rescue. We were well prepared and clear about our priorities. We visited Okahau Point and the reserve here as part of the visit. A highlight for us was seeing a juvenile penguin that had returned home.
On Tuesday morning we were all very tired and so Chris and Hiltrun went home early at lunchtime after we had put tree circles around some Five Finger that the rabbits had decided to ring-bark.
Robbie has started building my shed – very exciting! I went to Hampden on Thursday to tend to the hazelnut trees that are prone to fungal infections. During my trapping round I was pleased to see that the Spotted Shags have begun nest building – a good sign for the new season. It was very distressing however, to see so many starving seal pups. There are huge fat males along the coast and starving pups – not easy to walk past, but that is all I can do.
Yesterday we took time out from the bottomless list of jobs to do and took Janice Jones out to lunch at Riverstone kitchen. We wanted to pause together and celebrate the life of Diesel Dick, the founding father of the Katiki point penguin colony who we had not seen for nearly a year. He was 26 years old when he disappeared so he had a lot of stories to be remembered! The owner of the restaurant is building a castle – not what I have in mind for Hampden!
Have a great week.
Hello friends and family
The cold weather continued and so we could not plant any trees in the mornings because the ground was still frozen. In some places, the frost remained on the ground all day.
Slowly the days are lengthening and more penguins are coming home. They are still away before the sun comes up, but are looking good. The seal pups, on the other hand, are looking emaciated and about half are fading away very quickly.
Other than my 2 working days in the reserves, I had my top tip shop stint this week. I do enjoy it, but this week I did not see many of the regulars. It is quite a social place where neighbours can catch up on the news – mostly the weather – and the dogs all play together too.
On Thursday my nephew Peter and his beautiful wife, Charlotte came to stay the night. They got a call from the ferry service to say that the forecast for their Sunday ferry crossing was dire so they re-scheduled for Saturday. Friday was too cold for the bees but just right for cutting the front hedge. I only have one more lot to cut and then they are done until spring.
Since then we have had bitterly cold winds, but no rain!
Have a great week!
This was a cold week. The snow passed us by and all we had to show for the drop in temperatures was icy ground and frozen pools. It still remains very dry. We spent our working days rearranging the sheep and repairing their damage where we could, as well as preventing more. The sheep had started climbing up the sides of our tree circles, crushing them and then eating the young trees. To manage this problem, which I did not see coming, we have put the sheep into the south end of Barracouta Bay reserve and sealed off the north end.
This means that the small trees in the south get 3 stakes to hold up their circles and barbed wire to protect them from the sheep. The north ones only need protection from salt winds and rabbits – the tree circles will be fine for that!
On Wednesday I released the last patient. What bliss – no fish to process in the cold. I will keep checking the beaches regularly in case any more penguins need a helping hand. Thursday was quiet and Chris came up on Friday to begin the job of installing the penguin counter. This will take some time as care is needed when electronics meets the coastal environment.
Have a great week
Hello friends and family.
Time is flying by and my extra 1 second eluded me. On Monday we were joined in our work at Barracouta Bay by Tom, a young local volunteer who helped us plant some trees and trim others. His fresh perspective on the beauty of Barracouta Bay survived a nasty cold front at lunchtime and hopefully, he will be back in the future.
The Council has approved my resource consent so the shed can go ahead when the builder is ready. I got another load of topsoil for Elaine as it was lovely weather on Wednesday.
The dire warnings weather-wise have deterred some tourists but not these ones who climbed into the penguin landing area just because they can. These photos are taken by the trail camera – I did not compound the penguin’s misery by joining these eco-terrorists. This is so disappointing. Perhaps an electric fence will slow them down a bit!
There is more sign of penguins about the place – the footprints indicate a dozen or so at each landing which is a great relief! Two big parcels of technology arrived from Australia so we can find out more about our penguins in future.
Penguin Rescue has finally got its own business account at Kiwi Bank, instead of the savings account it has had until now. Even though this means giving up getting interest each month on our balance, we will be able to operate with debit cards which will make claiming for GST much more robust and easier. As a small charity we have to watch our cents carefully, relying on your support as we do.
Each project is considered for its value to penguin conservation and we recycle and reuse as much as we can to cut costs. All work is voluntary but still of the highest quality around.
I released 2 penguins on Thursday – one was the adult whose foot had responded well to antibiotics and the other was a juvenile that had been here for 5 weeks. It weighed 6.6Kg on release and was still hungry – go well young penguin! I let another go yesterday so there is only one left.
Have a great week.