12 May 2020

Neighbourhood News – Penguin Patter 26 April 2020

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What’s our penguinologist found this week?

Hiltrun Ratz shares penguin secrets from behind the scenes.

Colony Update

The penguin colony is much quieter now.  This week, twenty seven adults were found moulting at home, along with a mere 8 non-moulting adults.

Little footprints on the beach reveal that the penguins are still coming and going, just not in great numbers.

Supplementary feeding and rehab

This delightful fantail accompanies me on my nest box rounds.

At the start of the week, I was feeding 1 pre-fledging chick (B16), 3 post-fledging chicks (2 from A40, 1 from B79) and 1 pre-moult adult.

Unfortunately, the chick with injured eyes died after days of refusing food. To me, it appeared to have lost the spirit to live. Although one of its eyes had improved, the other eye had not regained any sight, making it unlikely to have survived in the wild.

A chick that I had released into a foreshore box returned and waited for me inside its natal box. It was very skinny so I put it into rehab for a couple of days. When I found it wandering the next day, I put it in another box and left it there. It was gone the next day.

The adult likes to stand on top of its box!

The chick that returned from the Wildlife Hospital was restless and unenthusiastic about eating so was released. The next day, it was found on the foreshore but was gone a day later.

Chick A22 (released 15 April) reappeared on April 25 looking quite skinny. The next day it was still around, so I fed it and left it in a box by the foreshore. It had been away for quite some time, so there’s hope that it’ll eventually get the hang of fishing.



Week Conclusion

By the end of the week I still had: 1 pre-fledging chick, 1 post-fledging chick and the adult to feed, as well as the repeat offender on the foreshore. 

Other Memorable Moments

I found a dead New Zealand torpedo (electric ray or Tetronarce fairchildi) on the beach.

There appeared to be nothing wrong with it… except that it was dead.

While checking the beach for stranded penguins, I noticed a lot of rubbish had washed ashore after recent strong seas. I always pick up whatever I can carry in my pockets.

Notice the face mask: sign of our times.