Hello friends and family
I had a wonderful holiday with the family and got to spend time with all my grandkids. I am very proud of them all. The trip to Christchurch was easy, no wind – which should have given me a clue – the airport was closed the next morning due to fog and so my flight to New Plymouth was delayed by 10 hours. This meant I spent time with Hamish and we went to the Brighton pier.
In New Plymouth, I took Olivia swimming and was treated to some fine dining and great company. Then to Tauranga where I caught up with Melissa and saw Daniel score the winning goal in his last basketball game of the season.
I arrived home on Wednesday evening and Chris and Hiltrun arrived for 2 days work on Thursday night. We did a trap round and had to move carefully to avoid any penguins that stayed home. Their behaviour has changed and the males are claiming nest sites with all birds returning early to socialise, including juveniles who think they are proper penguins!
The weather is mild and other species are feeling like it is spring too. Once again, the Spotted Shags are spectacular in their breeding plumage.
Have a great week!
Hello friends and family
This week it dried out enough for me to extract the camper from its spot. With all the rain, the ground remains soft and the town tyres on the camper mean that it just skids. I drove it to Dunedin on Friday and stayed at Chris and Hiltrun’s place so I could attend the Yellow-eyed penguin symposium on Saturday, without worrying about icy roads.
So yesterday was the annual symposium. It began with a presentation from the local DOC coastal area manager about the tourist enhancement work they are doing here at Katiki Point. Her talk was not identified on the programme and we had not been advised of it so Hiltrun had to update her delivery of our annual report as she had covered a lot of common ground. Hiltrun did a great job. I spoke to the manager afterwards about their plans to remove protecting fences from the Wildlife Reserve. She did reassure me that they would not put the penguins at risk. I asked – What penguins?
There was also a concern expressed about our showing graphs that revealed that our colonies were doing OK and others weren’t. We were asked to identify where all our rehab birds come from for next year’s report. I spoke to the lady who asked, and told her that the graphs reflected the facts and that if she wanted more information she could seek it out for herself from the data base – we would not be doing more work because she thought we were taking penguins from elsewhere and making them live here, which of course is rubbish!
Elaine spoke of our work at Shag Point and a bit of the history. Chris spoke about the incidence of Barracouta attacks on penguins over the las 30 years. Other than that, we were once again mentioned in the collective called “others”, even though we have the most penguins and the best outcomes for them.
The tone of the symposium was collaborative with more of a focus on the welfare of the penguins than ever before. DOC made an undertaking that a management plan would be in place within 12 months. There was almost a sense of urgency!
Have a great week.