Sunday, 28 February 2016

Doing the penguin shuffle

We docked at the ferry terminal in Bluff and quickly loaded the van with all our gear and headed off northwards.  A fair way to drive today to get up to Oamaru, but some pretty nice scenery along the way.  We basically headed through to Owaka where we grabbed some lunch and then headed to a beach to eat it.  It had started to drizzle a little, but as we finished so did the rain and we headed along a beach and found a good number of Hooker’s sea lions resting on the sand.  They were spread out along the beach, with several of them lying in small groups.  We had great views of them, and even watched one large bull come up out of the sea.

We then wandered back to the van and carried on northwards, heading through Dunedin.  We called in at a small coastal spot where we had awesome views of yellow-eyed penguins.  There were at least six birds out sitting about, and several juveniles with just small traces of down left to moult sitting under bushes.  They were clearly very close to fledging from the nest, so were probably waiting on their parents to come back and feed them.  Some of the adults sitting around were clearly in the middle of their moult, and there is nothing that looks more miserable than a moulting penguin.  We enjoyed the beautiful coastal views, and watched a few albatross cruise past, as well as a Hutton’s shearwater, and several of the newly ‘split’ Otago shags – split from Stewart Island shag.

We then headed on to Oamaru and to our accommodation, where we checked in and had a break before another excellent dinner.

Day total – Seen = 48 + 3 heard (bellbird, tomtit, redpoll); new for the trip = 0; total for the trip to date = 159

Bird of the day – Yellow-eyed penguin x5

Beautiful skies as we crossed back to Bluff

Yellow-eyed penguin having a stretch on the cliff top

Sleepy penguins

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