22 February 2012
On my list of "What to see in NZ" was Penguins! There is something about these birds (that don't fly) that are simple irresistible and I really wanted to see them. Well I got my chance in Omarau near Dunedin on the South Island of NZ. It was absolutely pouring rain that night so we decided to pay the $20 each to see the Little Blue Penguins from a covered viewing spot.
It turned out to be an excellent decision as these penguins don't return home from fishing all day at sea until dusk. After dark it would be very difficult to spot these 12" high small penguins, especially with our old eyes. The center had a special light that didn't bother the penguins but helped us to see them waddling up the beach and into their nests on shore to spend the night. The Blue Penguins are the smallest penguins in the world and are totally adorable.
Yellow Eyed Penguins are a little taller than their blue cousins and are very rare and they do indeed have yellow colouring around their eyes. We hiked out to Victory Beach the next evening on the Otago Peninsula by Dunedin to try and spot these birds and were rewarded by a private viewing of 2 families - mom, dad and youngsters. We didn't want to frighten the penguins so we hid among the tall grasses viewing them with binoculars and a telephoto camera lens. Norm got some great early evening shots!
Penguins! You can't resist seeing them when you're in New Zealand.