Hello friends and family.
The much promised winds arrived on Sunday afternoon and the first hint that they were serious was when they blew over the power pole outside the house.
Somehow the lines stayed connected but I did not walk under them just in case. Then by Monday morning, they had blown the house off a penguin sitting on eggs on the point so I went down and replaced it, securing the box in place with warratahs this time. I always feel bad when this happens – the penguins choose to nest in boxes because it should be safe in all weathers.
The winds ripped up the circles placed on small trees to protect them down near the sea and the challenge there is the rotten fence posts that wave about and rip the circles out of the ground.
The winds continued until Tuesday when we visited Moeraki to check out the Stewart Island Shags. It was a treat to see that the Spoonbills are returning. The Sooty Shearwaters are coming back to nest here on the point. Thorough searches have revealed no further Yellow-eyed penguin nests which is quite devastating. This colony has dropped 30% and Okahau Point has dropped 17%.
As these birds share the same ocean and weather conditions, we are left to assume that the difference in survival rates relates to conditions on land. The most obvious difference is the relentless stream of people coming here with all their noise and bustle. Every night I am asking people to leave who overstay or arrive after 7:30pm. The opening and closing signs are back out on the road but are ignored by too many people. This is not the first Yellow-eyed penguin colony decimated by uncontrolled tourism, we can only hope it will be the last – there are no more left.
However the work goes on, and we wish all our nesting penguins a successful breeding season.
Have a great week!