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Stauchy Blog » Blog Archive » The Little Blue Penguins- Nov 3, 2007 (LAS)

The Little Blue Penguins- Nov 3, 2007 (LAS)


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When we first read about New Zealand (when we were considering it to be our honeymoon), one of the top things I wanted to see was the little blue penguins that call New Zealand home. During out visit to the Otago Peninsula a few years ago, we went to an open beach where a small colony called home. We had read that they make their way into shore around sunset so we waited around to try to get a peak. After the sun was down and it became too dark to see, we gave up and headed out only to find 2 little blues walking up the road in front of the campervan. It was enough of a spotting to make me content with our first visit to New Zealand. Since we now had another month to enjoy this incredible country, I booked a seating to watch the Oamaru little blue penguins come in at night to feed the young on Janelle’s second night in New Zealand.

We started the day with a bit of craziness in locating the rental car, checking out of the room, and a small bit of shopping. We headed out to the CDC to take care of a little bit of business and settled on Mona Vale for lunch. After lunch we hit the road and started heading towards Oamaru. As we reached the outskirts of Christchurch, we realized that we had left our pillows in the hotel and made our way back to get them. We began the drive again to Oamaru. Given the late arrival into town, Janelle conceded to our desire to visit McDonald’s for a taste of what we hadn’t had for over a year.

As a side note, we finally watched the movie “Supersize Me” during the middle of the winter season. We have plenty of friends who have said the idea of McDonald’s was disgusting to them after watching the movie. The effect is quite opposite when you are at the South Pole for 9 months and a quarter pounder with cheese with some amazing French fries on the side are so far out of reach. When they showed some of the options in Supersize Me, I wanted that for dinner so badly that I could smell it! Needless to say, I enjoyed the fast-food dinner and was happy that Janelle gave in to our whim.

After dinner, we got to the colony and did a behind-the-scenes tour which included a glimpse into the small little houses of the nesting little blues that had viewing portals in a dark house. Most people would agree that penguins are fun to watch and a unique/cute creature to watch moving. The little blues are so tiny that the desire to sit and watch them is intensified. They are so stinking cute!

As we had a little bit of time to kill before sunset, we followed the advice of the ladies working at the little blue colony and headed to the other side of the penninsula to look for yellow-eyed penguins. We were happy to not only spot a few but have one walk right up to the fenceline along the path. We gave him plenty of space, but enjoyed watching him for a while.

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We returned before sunset and made our way to the viewing deck. As light from the sun began to wane, the penguins began hitting the shore in groups. And making their way up to their nests. We watched and listened as mates often stepped out and made calls and a few ran back and forth between their little houses. I am always torn between seeing animals randomly in the wild and paying for an experience like this. It is nice that the conservation area is managed with as little human involvement as possible. The people continue to build little houses which seem to make life easy for the little blues and the numbers are growing. I loved that we saw 2 a few years ago that lived in a natural setting, but this was really fun to watch so many waddle their way up the hill together. I was definitely happy with both experiences and happy to have paid the money to keep the Oamaru little blue colony and information center running.

As I am sure it is obvious by now, we set-up our tents in the dark (which is not uncommon for the Stauch’s) and settled into our campsite for the night.

-LAS

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