Our fortnightly monitoring has continued this year at our little / blue penguin Charleston colony and a couple of checks a season for our other sites, Whitehorse Bay, Bullock Creek, Punakaiki River and Joyce Bay.

It has been a late start for the Nile River colony, with some eggs laid in August, as reported to you all in the last newsletter, but then sadly abandoned by the next check. Now we have a mixture of incubating birds, new chicks and even post-guard chicks (when both adults leave the chicks to forage for food).

Last year’s breeding success was low, probably due to the extreme marine heatwaves brought about by La Niña conditions, and now, with a new El Niño fully established, we are watching carefully to see what effects it may have on this year’s season.

Further south, at Camerons Beach south of Greymouth, we have a similar story, but with more chicks just entering the post-guard stage.

We will continue our monitoring efforts for the rest of the season and by the Christmas newsletter we should have some more news, hopefully of most chicks having fledged by then.


Volunteer Ruth Hudson finds a tight squeeze to exit the cave where we found nesting penguins.


Our monitoring efforts are a mixture of looking in nest boxes to searching with a burrowscope into rocky burrows, tree roots and bushes. We are always on the lookout for signs of penguins as we move through the bush, including poo, smells, tidying up of entrances, scratch marks and other common signs.


Penguins will burrow deep under tree roots and in small caves making it a tricky job to find them with the burrowscope.


Eggs were laid in August at the Nile River colony but then abandoned. Since then a new clutch has been laid so fingers crossed.


Diving into bushes to find penguin burrows at Bullock Creek.


Watch this space for the latest news at Christmas…..