Trust Ranger, Matt Charteris, reports that 2020 was a good breeding year for blue penguins on the Buller Coast.  Breeding data supports short foraging trips observed through gps tracking, suggesting that food was not a limiting factor for the 2020 season.  Food appeared to be a problem in the 2019 season and lower breeding success was observed.
At localities where disturbance is expected to be present there was a corresponding lower breeding success than areas where disturbance is minimal.

The 2021 season is about to begin. Monitoring will continue, including further gps tracking, to continue our long term data set and our understanding of Buller blue penguins.

Charleston 2020 season results:

The Rahui and Knoll sites receive a monitoring visit every fortnight (mid July – mid January).

Site Monitored Breeding burrows Eggs laid Chicks hatched Chicks fledged Chicks per breeding attempt Breeding success Failed breeding attempts
Rahui 27 54 52 46 1.70 85.2 1
Knoll 27 54 48 36 1.33 66.7 3


Other Buller sites 2020 season results:

The other monitored Buller sites receive 2 visits during the breeding season (egg period and late chick period).  Not all breeding burrows are necessarily known at these sites and therefore not all breeding burrows are monitored.

Site Monitored breeding burrows Eggs laid Chicks seen Breeding success Failed breeding attempts
Foulwind 4 8 5 62.5 0
Whitehorse 10 20 16 80.0 1
Bullock Creek 3 6 6 100 0
Punakaiki River 2 4 4 100 0


Matt Charteris and Kerry-Jayne Wilson apply a datalogger to a blue penguin
Matt Charteris and Kerry-Jayne Wilson apply a datalogger to a blue penguin


Reuben Lane using a burrowscope to monitor a penguin nest

And if you’re wondering what that red thing is as our featured image, it is the screen our rangers use when they use a burrowscope for monitoring penguin nests.  A 2m cable with a camera at one end and a viewer – the red box, at the other.  It’s not always easy to interpret what they see.

Burrowscope screen