The Blue Penguin Colony in Oamaru  –  New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year – Backpacker Guide New Zealand
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The Blue Penguin Colony in Oamaru – New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year – Backpacker Guide New Zealand


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.

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