Fiordland Crested Penguin
This morning we had a small visitor in Halfmoon Bay. A friend mentioned there was a Little Blue Penguin on the slipway. Well my photo library for Little Blues is not brilliant, even though they are the most common of our species, so off I went with the camera. What I found wasn’t a Little Blue, but a juvenile Fiordland Crested. It almost certainly was washed away from it’s parents nest area on Horseshoe Point, about a mile away. …. We had a good South East swell overnight….Although fully fledged I wouldn’t expect it to “go solo” for another 3 weeks or so, and certainly it did appear quite confused. As the name suggests, Fiordland Crested Penguins are most common in Fiordland, although there were always some nesting birds on Codfish Island off the NW Coast, and we used to see them regularly when we were chartering down to Port Pegasus at the far south of the Island. The first I knew to nest in the immediate vicinity of Halfmoon Bay was around 35 years ago at Bench Island. But now we have a small number.. perhaps 4 or 5 pairs…. every spring hereabout. This little fellow was returned to the nest area by the Department of Conservation and hopefully it will survive. It appeared plump and well fed.
Locally we have 4 Penguin species.
Little Blues being most common,
Yellow Eyed were once very common, but numbers have been steadily declining, for reasons not yet clear, although the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust are undertaking considerable work in studying the populations.
Fiordland Crested seem to be establishing a small, but secure presence locally
And last year I saw my first Snares Crested Penguin away from the Snares Island. I initially thought it was a Fiordland Crested, but realised my mistake when I loaded the photographs.