Thursday, 27 November 2014

Penguin Place

Penguin Place is a privately owned and operated reserve on the Otago Peninsula dedicated to the conservation of the endangered Yellow-eyed Penguin. We were advised that the last tour of the day provided the chance of seeing the most penguins so we took the advice. The tour begins with a short bus ride from the harbour side to the ocean side of the peninsula. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. Dark clouds and rain arrived just as the walking part of the tour began.

Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-5, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/5.6 1/320

However, it seems that penguins don't mind the rain. We spotted our first penguin, emerging from the waves onto the beach below us before we had even reached the formal viewing areas.

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 400, f/3.5 1/250

Once you get into the colony itself you you can hear the penguins calling and shuffling around in the grass to and from their nests. We were lucky enough to come across this individual only a few metres away from the path. 

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8
ISO 1600, f/3.5 1/800

Heavy cloud and rain made for low light so I bumped up the ISO to give a fast enough shutter speed to hand hold and freeze the action of the penguins. There are several hides along the path that provide views of nest boxes, some of which had penguins 'at home'.

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f3.5 1/800
Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/3.5 1/800

In the main nesting area, a maze of trenches has been dug and covered over allowing close-up viewing of nesting sites and the ability to move around in the colony with minimal disruption to the birds and with a little protection from the rain.

Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-5, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 16 mm, ISO 1600, f/3.5 1/100

It wasn't long before we came across this family where the female (we couldn't tell the difference but the guide know most of the birds individually) had just returned from the sea.

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/8 1/200
Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/5.6 1/640
Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/2.8 1/500
Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8
ISO 1600, f/2.8 1/800
Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8
ISO 1600, f/2.8 1/2500

We stayed watching these birds for about 30 minutes until the male called loudly

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-5, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8
ISO 1600, f/8 1/1600

apparently signalling his departure. We followed him along his way to the beach

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/4 1/1600

and watched as he swam out to sea.

Yellow-eyed Penguin, Penguin Place, Otago Peninsula, NZ
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/4 1/4000

2 comments:

  1. Divine... but do they have funny ecc-sents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do ectuelly ;-)
      They have a very loud a raucous call.

      Delete

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