Spring fever

This year, I started the field season a bit earlier to allow time for a field trip to South Australia and adverse conditions that might get in the way of some of the trips. I had planned to leave for Bowen Island on Thursday, but the weather did not agree and I had to reschedule. It so came that David and I found ourselves on Lion Island for the September (spring) equinox. For the penguins, this means it’s time to breed, and so we found a lot of eggs in the burrows and two chicks as well.

The island looked much as I remembered it from last year, only a bit more driftwood and washed-up garbage. So we set to work and cleaned a patch just big enough to pitch our tent, then built the fence and corral and checked the marked burrows for occupants.

In the evening, it took a while until just two single penguins came ashore and we did not even use the corral. A while later, a pair came up together, and that was it for the night – a mere 4 penguins.

Day 2 was slightly more rewarding, with ten little waddlers coming ashore, with eight of them arriving at once. I wonder if they noticed us and waited until they were numerous enough to face the perceived enemy?

All in all, it looks like the breeding season is only just setting in, and I hope to find many more penguins when I return to Lion Island in a few weeks time!

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