Saturday was a Penguin Day.
Alice from the Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary invited me to come and have a look at their new penguin exhibit at the former Oceanworld in Manly, and to tell her about my project. We talked for almost an hour and the timing could not have been better, because I was right on time to also enjoy the penguin feeding and keeper talk at 2:30pm. All in all, the penguins seem to be settling in very well in their new home and I will keep my fingers crossed for a successful breeding season – it would be awesome to see the new colony grow so quickly. I really enjoyed meeting the penguins and Alice, and to exchange experiences.
As if the visit to the SeaLife Sanctuary was not enough, we realised that our timing for the trip back to Circular Quay could not have been better. When we arrived at Manly Wharf just after sunset, the gates to the beach were already closed and the penguin wardens had taken up their position to guard the only remaining Little Penguin burrow at the wharf. When they told us that the breeding pair had not yet returned from sea, we knew we could not leave before finally laying eyes on a Little Penguin in the wild. Although we had to wait for almost an hour before the female returned to the burrow, we were not disappointed. All of a sudden, she appeared out of the water and waddled towards us, before she disappeared again under the jetty. The warden afterwards told us that the male seemed to have stayed behind during the day to improve the burrow, hoping that his efforts would be rewarded by his partner allowing him to mate with her. She could hear their greeting calls and could therefore be sure that both penguins were in the burrow after the female arrived. It was great to see the enthusiasm with which the wardens guard the penguins, night after night, and to see that the penguins in Manly prevail, despite the threats they are facing!
I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of the Little Penguins at Manly and elsewhere 🙂