The Blue Penguins Pukekura visitor experience will be in hibernation from 1 June 2021 - 31 October 2021.
26 April 2020

Blues News from Pilots Beach

Blue Penguins - Blues News from Pilots Beach

By Hiltrun Ratz

Blues News from Pilots Beach

By Hiltrun Ratz

Week ending 26 April 2020


The penguin colony is quieter now and only 27 adults were found moulting, and a mere 8 adults were at home (not moulting). By the number of footprints on the beach in the morning, the penguins are still coming and going but not in great numbers.

Supplementary feeding and rehab


At the beginning of the week I was feeding one pre-fledging chick (B16), three post-fledging chicks (2 from A40, B79) and one pre-moult adult. Unfortunately the chick with the injured eyes died after days of refusing food. It appeared to me that it had lost the spirit to live and gave up. The eye that was worst had not regained any sight while the other eye was a bit better. It would have never made it in the wild. A chick that I had released into a foreshore box returned and waited for me in its natal box. As it was quite skinny I had in rehab for a couple of days and then tried again. The next day I found it wandering, put it in a box and left it there. It was gone the next day. The chick we got back from the Wildlife Hospital was restless and unenthusiastic about eating, so it, too was released, found again on the foreshore the next day, but was gone the day after that.

The adult likes to stand on top of the box!

The A22 chick that I had released on 15 April showed up again on April 25 and was still there on 26 April, so I fed it and left it in a box by the foreshore. It was very wet and was quite skinny, but it had been away for quite some time, so there is hope that it will get the hang of fishing eventually.

So at the end of the week I still had one pre-fledging chick, 1 post-fledging chick and the adult to feed, as well as the repeat offender on the foreshore.



I’m visited and delightfully accompanied by a fan tail on my feeding visits and nest box rounds.



And I found a dead New Zealand torpedo (electric ray or Tetronarce fairchildi) on the beach: There appeared to be nothing wrong with it except it was dead (below).

While checking the beach for stranded penguins I have noticed that in the recent strong seas a lot of rubbish was washed ashore. I pick up what I can carry in my pockets and this was just from one casual walk along the beach front on one day. Notice the face mask: sign of our times.