Day 179 on the Road
Seeing little blue penguins in Oamaru!
Today we are watching a colony of little blue penguins come to shore! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities then wiggle on over to our YouTube Channel!
So today we are leaving Dunedin, we’rte gonna check out the Moeraki boulders we’re gonna step back in time to the Victorian era, and we’re also gonna check out some blue penguins.
Previously on day 179 part 1 we arrived at the Moeraki Boulders at high tide which is really the wrong time to come and see the boulders nevertheless we did arrive at Oamaru at the right time of the year which is in time for the victorian fete. We catch the first day of the victorian parade before getting prepared for tonight’s activity which is going to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.
The little blue penguin colony is really what makes oamaru famous in New Zealand and is what brings oamaru on top of most itinerary around the south island. on the way to the blue penguin colony we check check out the massive shag colony which is on a pier right before the building of the blue penguin colony. It’s a huge shag colony and there is actually a lot of shags around the world, 36 species in fact and 12 of those are living in New Zealand. this one here is in full breed we see a lot of young which are the ones with the silver feathers and a lot of adults going back and forth to feed them.
And before we even get to the main event there are heaps more wildlife to check out after the huge shag colony we get to see a few seals coming back from a long day’s fishing and going to rest and bathe in the sun right on the beach.
But when we arrive at the blue penguin colony it’s a pretty deserted place. It’s a little bit early as the blue penguins are usually coming back ashore when night arrives so it’s a massive area with heaps of little blue penguins houses but no ones home just yet.
The blue penguins started colonising in the 1990s just a very small colony but because so many kept coming onto the shores of Oamaru the blue penguin colony which run by the council here they set up this artificial environment and a little safe haven for the little blue penguins to come up onto shore and have their very own nesting site.
As soon as the sun goes down we see the very first raft of little blue penguins and a raft is a group of penguins making their way to shore.
Once the rafts are large enough they pluck up the courage start making their way onto the rock shores which is a lot less graceful than I expected.
After being bashed by the waves the little blue penguins are finally making it to dry land and start making there way up to their housing. And I really feel that the usual music that I put behind those videos is really wrong so let’s try something a little bit different for this one.
Those little fluff balls wearing tuxedos look like a massive amount of James Bond attacking the shore of Doctor No’s hidings. It’s really awesome to see them passing right in front of our eyes and making their way to their specially built houses. And the rafts keep on coming one after the other and it’s really interesting to see them wait for each other every single step of the way. they do not do any motion by themselves or if they do they kind of try to run and catch up one after the other just to make sure that they always have safety in numbers it’s really awesome.
While we’re watching the little blue penguins we’re getting commentary along the way telling us a lot of facts about these little guys and their lifespans but as you can see there is a lot of them just stood around ruffling their feathers and lifting up their flippers and this is for them to cool down after swimming in the water. This is because they are such a small animal and they are really well insulated with their feathers so they do get pretty warm after all that swimming all day out in the ocean.
We also learn that the blue penguins are the smallest species of penguins in the world only growing to about 30-33cm they also live between 8 to 10 years and the oldest one recorded in the Oamaru blue penguin colony lived up to 21 years old.
Just as one group of penguins make their way to their nesting boxes the next raft comes in from the ocean it’s actually really surprising how many blue penguins we’re seeing tonight. Usually at the height of the season there’s around 130 breeding pairs at this colony and the team at the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony are keeping a tally of how many individuals are making their way onto shore tonight and by the end of the night we are seeing 301 little blue penguins.
The set up at the blue penguin colony is really awesome first there is no flash photography allowed which is understandable as it would really damage the eyes of the blue penguins but we can see very well because they use special lights that don’t disturb the blue penguins and let us see them behave in the wild like we were not here. Then there is a bit of a fence protecting the blue penguins from seals and other mammals that would come here and hunt them and they have a little hole that they can pass through to make their way to their housing.
Every single pair of penguin has a house of their own or at least a little box where they get to live and they find out where their house is in the dark by calling each other every single penguin has a different scream I’ll say because that’s not really a call.
But right now a little team of the world’s cutest spies are trying to attack one of the big seals living nearby.
Oh well, better luck next time. there is a lot of hope for the little blue penguin colony right here because the blue penguins are one of the species of penguins that we think we can reintroduce more of into the wild here in New Zealand and this is because it’s one of the only species of penguins in the world that actually produces eggs more than once every single year making it a better chance for them to actually increase their populations drastically if we successfully protect them.
Waiting until nightfall has definitely been worth being able such this huge colony of penguins they’ve been super entertaining to watch and has been really fascinating insight into the lives of little blue penguins. As the last call for this evening at 301 little blue penguins is made there’s actually more penguins coming out from the ocean. they’re more like the latecomers to the party and actually up until midnight we will still be seeing little blue penguins making their way from the ocean actually all over the coast of Oamaru.
It was an awesome evening spent with our little friends and as we making our way outside of the little blue penguin colony we see a last few stragglers making their way to their nesting box. They are absolutely precious and so cute. We loved it.
I love the blue penguins. They’re so cute. I actually don’t want to go back to the hostel do you want to go back through over there.
Join us tomorrow for more Victorian Oamaru.
Where you are now would be perfect if you stay there. Ok that’s probably how I’m gonna stay. Cool cos i don’t really have a choice. Yeah. So uncomfortable. [Laughing] Just put your arms in front. No. Use your hands to talk.