Friday, November 6, 2015

Yellow Eyed Penguin

Akaroa Harbor, NZ (May 28, 2008)

I wish I remember the name of the operators that organized the boat tour in Akaroa Harbor. Because they were good. The people on the boat knew well the area, and brought us in the right place to see the local fauna, without being too pushy, and knowing what species to look for, and where.

Yellow-eyed penguin
This is how we got to see the yellow-eyed penguin. We first approached the part of shoreline where the penguins nest (keeping the right distance) but of course there was none there, because during the day they are out at sea to fish. But while we were getting back at the center of the harbour we saw this little guy (fairly large actually, maybe half meter or more) swimming around. Even though we were relatively far (don’t be fooled by the 200mm lens and the cropped photo, most people with compact cameras just got a few pixels of penguin) he/she wasn’t very happy to see us. From time to time the poor penguin was turning the head around to check what those pesky humans-paparazzi were doing.

The yellow-eyed penguin (Maori name Hoiho) turns out to be quite rare and endangered, with an estimated population of only 4,000, all living in New Zealand. The individual in the photo is a juvenile, lacking the yellow band connecting the eyes on the back. We saw more of these penguins later on in the trip, down in the Catlins.

Akaroa Harbor, NZ (May 28, 2008)

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