Ian’s Bird of the Week – Fiordland Penguin

Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) by IanIan’s Bird of the Week – Fiordland Penguin ~ Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 9-5-14

I was talking with a friend the other day about visiting New Zealand and my experience with photographing Fiordland Penguin in Milford Sound, so here it is as bird of the week and a change from Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland. It was my main reason for visiting Milford Sound, better known perhaps for its spectacular scenery and natural beauty, but if you go looking for wildlife then you find yourself in wonderful places anyway.

I camped the previous night in my rented campervan at Cascade Creek in Fiordland National Park, the nearest camping site to Milford Sound. It’s still a fair drive, so atypically I got up before dawn when the temperature was 3ºC to get to the sound early enough to get on the first tourist boat, as I’d been told that this provided the best chance of seeing the penguins. The boat I went on was one of the smaller ones so there were only a dozen or so passengers. I had a chat with the crew as departed and they were optimistic about finding the penguins.

Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) by Ian

Within ten minutes of leaving, they had located a nesting pair on the rocky shore. Very obligingly, they reversed the boat to what seemed perilously close to the rocks so that I could get some photos. The first photo shows one of them near the entrance to its nesting burrow, while the second is its mate wandering over the rocks closer to us.

Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) by Ian

I was very glad I’d make the early start, as we didn’t see many more penguins, though we did come across the party in the third photo about 20 minutes later. The bird in the foreground with the pale cheeks is a juvenile. An easier place to see them is Taronga Zoo in Sydney where their glass-sided tank provides great views of them at their best: they’re much more elegant gliding effortlessly through the water than hobbling around on rocks.

Fiordland Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) by Ian

The wild population is estimated at about 3000 pairs and has suffered from predation by introduced mammals and the native Weka  which has been introduced to some islands where the penguins breed. I did see Wekas at Milford Sound, but I don’t know whether they are a problem there. The Fiordland Penguin is closely related to the Snares and Southern Rockhopper Penguins.

Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) by Ian

While on the subject of animals that are expert swimmers and clumsy on land, I’ve just completed a new gallery of turtles and their relatives on the website. It contains a rather motley collection that I’ve stumbled across when birding, including the marine Green Turtle, above, four Australian and an American freshwater species, a South African and an Asian tortoise. This Green Turtle was grazing on the mooring cable, visible on the right, on a visit Michaelmas Cay off Cairns last year with my sister Gillian from Ireland. I’m going on a visit to Ireland in ten days time. Next week I’ll tell you more about my plans and some of the birds that I hope to bring your way.

Greetings
Ian

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Psalms 8:8-9 NKJV)

What an interesting bird to switch to. The Fiordland Penguins are neat looking with that eyebrow stripe and those feathers at the end of it. Penguins definitely “pass through the paths of the seas.” Also, did you notice he was out there in 3C, that is 37.4F for us North Americans. (Brrr!)

Penguins are members of the Spheniscidae – Penguins Family which has 18 members. Ian has photos of half of the Penguin Family on his Birdway site. The Fiordlands are “medium-sized, yellow-crested, black-and-white penguins, growing to approximately 60 cm (24 in) long and weighing on average 3.7 kg (8.2 lbs), with a weight range of 2 to 5.95 kg (4.4 to 13.1 lb). It has dark, bluish-grey upperparts with a darker head, and white underparts. It has a broad, yellow eyebrow-stripe which extends over the eye and drops down the neck. Most birds have three to six whitish stripes on the face.” (Wikipedia)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Penguin Family at Birdway

Spheniscidae – Penguins Family

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Smiling Penguins

Chinstrap Penguin direct look

Chinstrap Penguin direct look

When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them. (Job 29:24 NIV)

I know Our Lord has such kind and loving attributes. Also, I believe He has a sense of humor. Having just written about the “peach fuzz” penguin, I came across this Penguin family member. The Chinstraps.

 Chinstrap Penguins (Orne Island)

Chinstrap Penguins (Orne Island)

Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart. (Psalms 32:11 NASB)

Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) by Bob-Nan

Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) by Bob-Nan

Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future. (Proverbs 31:25 NASB – virtuous woman)

Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) ©WikiC

Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) ©WikiC

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV)

 

Smile And Sing

When the heart is heavy and the days are long,
Let each passing moment echo with a song.
Fill some life with courage, comfort now the sad—
Many lives are lonely, you can make them glad.

Refrain

Smile and sing, some happy, happy song,
Days of sadness will not tarry long;
Smile and sing, ’twill drive the clouds away—
Smile and sing thro’ every passing day.

Someone needs the comfort that a song can bring,
If thy heart is happy let it gaily sing.
Someone’s pathway brighten, lift some load of care—
Seek some heart to brighten, and its burden share.

Refrain

Smile and sing, some happy, happy song,
Days of sadness will not tarry long;
Smile and sing, ’twill drive the clouds away—
Smile and sing thro’ every passing day.

Many are in sorrow and the clouds hang low,
You can cheer and comfort as you onward go.
Win some soul for Jesus, from the path of shame
Giving all the glory to His precious Name.

Refrain

Smile and sing, some happy, happy song,
Days of sadness will not tarry long;
Smile and sing, ’twill drive the clouds away—
Smile and sing thro’ every passing day.

(Words & Music: Grant C. Tull­ar, 1899)

See:

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – King Penguin

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 1 by Ian

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 1 by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – King Penguin ~ by Ian Montgomery

The Royal Penguins may have won the bird of the trip award on the basis of character, but the sartorial crown went to the King Penguin also very common on the beach at Macquarie Island. We’ll see later that they also won the Worst Dressed Award. The adult King Penguins were magnificently turned out, and strode importantly around, very erect with chests puffed out as in the first photo. (If their suits hadn’t been pure silk, they might, however, be considered slight spivvy.)

They alway seemed to have some consequential to do, such as this one calling at intervals trumpet-like and being listened to deferentially by its followers and being answered in a similar vein by another leader at some distance.
King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 2 by Ian

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 2 by Ian

If you sat quietly on the beach, they would, like the Royals come over to inspect you, but they didn’t seem to approve of what they found.
King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 3 by Ian

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 3 by Ian

When called upon to do something undignified like feeding an unrelenting chick, they did so with an expression that suggested that this should really be done by a wet nurse, and the neighbours would turn avert their gaze disdainfully.
King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 4 by Ian

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 4 by Ian

The chicks, of course, won the Worst Dressed Award and the adults, whenever possible, disowned them so that were forced to huddle in a creche at the unfashionable end of the beach.
King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 5 by Ian

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 5 by Ian

The chicks look as if they’re preening, but they are really trying to rip off their awful yeti outfits. You can see that some of them have nearly succeeded. This is a transformation to rival any emerging butterfly, and if Hans Christian Andersen had known about King Penguin chicks he would have chosen them rather than cygnets for his Ugly Duckling fairy tale.
King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 6 by Ian

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 6 by Ian

Meanwhile, at the other end of the beach, the King Penguins stride officiously towards an Elephant Seal lumbering out of the water. I couldn’t resist converting this into a comic-strip cartoon using an iPhone app called Halftone http://www.juicybitssoftware.com/halftone/ .
King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 7 by Ian

King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) 7 by Ian

As you can imagine, it was a special day on Macquarie Island.
I’m continuing to put photos from the trip on the website and there are now 650 Australian bird species there. You can check the latest updates here: http://www.birdway.com.au/#updates .
Best wishes
Ian


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Now Ian has gone to making cartoons. Ian, that must have been an exciting special day. From your writing, your pleasure shines through. Thanks for sharing your great photos with us again. Stay tuned for Ian’s next adventure. Can’t wait to see some more of his photos from that trip.

Penguines are in the Spheniscidae – Penguin Family of the Sphenisciformes Order. Penguins are the only family in the Order. Check out Ian’s Penguin photos at his Birdway.com site. He has photos for 9 of the 18 species of Penguins.

The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1 KJV)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Royal Penguin

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 1

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 1

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Royal Penguin ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 12/10/11

I think that this should really be the Bird of the Trip, if not the Year. The birders’ table at dinner on the last night on board had a vote for Bird of the Trip, and it was a close contest between the Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, featured last week, and my choice, the Royal Penguin. As I mentioned last week, Macquarie Island was for most of us the highlight of the trip, and the day spent on familiar terms with the penguins was memorably enchanting.

Four species breed there, the commonest being the Royal and King Penguins. The King Penguins are beautiful, very smart, elegant and colourful, but the smaller Royals (up to 75cm/30in in length) won hands down in terms of personality.
Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 2

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 2

Who could fail to be endeared by the curious attention of the bird in the first photo or by the ones promenading along the beach as in the second photo or by the pair having a deep and meaningful exchange, as in the the third photo?
Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 3

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 3

Apart from curiosity, the penguins appeared little affected by our presence. They would move out of the way if you walked towards them, but if you sat on the beach, they’d come over to check you out and nibble in an exploratory manner on clothing and cameras. The Labrador-eyed baby elephant seals would come over for a cuddle, but that’s another story.
Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 4

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 4

The beach was the promenade area but the real action was taking place at a huge rookery behind the beach, fourth photo. Here, many thousands of Royal Penguins were huddled on uncomfortable-looking stony nests incubating eggs like the long-suffering one having a bad-hair day in the fifth photo.
Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 5

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 5

Woe betide a penguin getting too close to another one’s nest, and an individual moving through the colony was subject to a cacophony of abuse like the one in the sixth photo. The abusers didn’t appeared seriously aggressive, more just letting off steam and complaining about the crowded conditions. They did get serious, however, when the brown skuas attempted to steal their eggs and the area around the rookery was littered with empty egg shells.
Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 6

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 6

Now generally recognised as a separate species from the closely related Macaroni Penguin, the Royal breeds only on Macquarie Island and the population is estimated at 850,000 pairs. (Macaronis have black chins, Royal have white ones.) ‘Royal’ struck me as a quite inappropriate name: ‘court jester’ would be closer. Maybe that would be underestimating them: the one in the last photo looks like a real champion emerging from the surf, up there with any cross-channel swimmer.
Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 7

Royal Penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) by Ian 7

I’m in Sydney now on my way home. The week spent in Tasmania in search of the local endemics was largely successful, despite sometimes miserable weather and I’m looking forward to making many additions to the website.
Best wishes
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Wow! How do they ever know where their nest is located? That must have been some experience. That second photo looks like they are strutting their stuff.

The Penguins are in the Sphenisciformes Order and they make up the only family, the Spheniscidae Family. See Ian’s photos of the Penguins and then check out our Birds of the WorldSpheniscidae – Penguin family.

He sends out His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly. He gives snow like wool; He scatters the frost like ashes; He casts out His hail like morsels; Who can stand before His cold? (Psalms 147:15-17 NKJV)

Apparently Penguins were designed to “stand before His cold.”

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-eyed Penguin

Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) by Ian 1

Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) by Ian 1

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-eyed Penguin ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 11/22/11
I had intended the Fiordland Crested Penguin at Milford Sound to be the next bird of the week, but since then I have photographed the unusual and rarer Yellow-eyed Penguin at the well-known colony on the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin and chosen it instead.

I went there in the evening as this is the time when the fishing member of the breeding pairs returns to relieve the incubating or baby-sitting member. The bird in the first photo is an adult that has just returned to the colony. The adults are distinguishable by having the yellow band joining the eyes around the nape of the head.
Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) by Ian 2

Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) by Ian 2

The bird in the second photo is another adult. Yellow-eyed Penguins are quite large, up to 79cm/31in in length and weighing up to 8kg. The males are larger than the females and penguins in general have heavy bones by bird standards to help them dive. When the pairs are reunited they typically perform mutual preening as in the third photo.
Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) by Ian 3

Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) by Ian 3

The total population of the species is about 2,000 pairs, mainly on Auckland and Campbell Islands, with about 150 pairs on Stewart Island and about 500 on the South Island. It has suffered from loss of coastal forest and still suffers from predation by introduced mammals such as feral cats. It is classified as endangered, but the population has been relatively stable over the last 30 years.
Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) by Ian 4 juvenile

Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) by Ian 4 juvenile

The bird in the fourth photo is a juvenile (they don’t breed until they are 3 or 4 years old) and lacks the yellow band on the back of the head.
More than 20 years ago, when on Stewart Island, I booked to go on a boat trip to an island that had both Yellow-eyed Penguins and Wekas, a large flightless rail. The weather was so bad that the trip was cancelled and both these species had represented unfinished business. On this trip I encountered Wekas at Milford Sound.
I’m in Dunedin for a second time now, having needed to drive to Christchurch to return the camper and then flown back. This produced a strangely disorientating feeling of deja-vu, as you quite reasonably expect to end up somewhere else after a flight, not where you’ve just been the day before. I have met up with my 3 travelling companions from Victoria and we are all excited at the prospect of sailing for the Sub-Antarctic Islands tomorrow. So, don’t expect another bird of the week or any communication for that matter until we reach Hobart where we are due on 1 December. I hope that by then I’ll have many more photos to share with you.
Best wishes
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Ian has been putting out his newsletters close together lately. Most likely since he knows he will be away from an internet connection for awhile. This newsletter was received several days ago, but decided to space it to fill the gap of time before his next one arrives. I am looking forward to what this next part of his trip produces.

Penguins are in the Sphenisciformes Order. The family, Spheniscidae, is the only one in the order. The 18 Penguins are in 5 genera; Aptenodytes, Pygoscelis, Eudyptes, Megadyptes and Spheniscus. Check out Ian’s Penguins and the the complete Spheniscidae family here.

Let heaven and earth praise Him, The seas and everything that moves in them. (Psalms 69:34 NKJV)

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National Aviary – Penguin Encounter

African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) at NA by Lee

African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) by Dome at NA by Lee

The National Aviary’s Penguin Point area is home to Stanley, Elvis, Patrick, Simon, Sidney, Preston, Dotty, Kristen, TJ, and Rainbow. At least that is the names of the ones listed on the African Penguin page. We enjoyed taking pictures of them, but did not figure out who was who. The area has a dome that sticks up and you can make your way to it and look at the penguins up “close and personal.” Of course, I had to go check it out. Even caught Dan taking pictures of the penguins while I was inside looking out.

National Aviary Meet a patient - Jamie-Vet Tech with leg cast

Meet a patient – Jamie-Vet Tech with leg cast

They have several penguin feeding times during the day and a penguin talk – to learn more about the penguins. In the Penguin Point Vestibule they have a “Meet a Patient” talk by one of the “bird medical” staff. There you are told about one of the patients in their hospital. Jamie, the Veterinarian Technician was telling about one of the ducks. He showed a cast used for a broken leg. Unfortunately, we missed most of the talk and only got in on the last part of his presentation.

The African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus), which they have at the Aviary, are the only penguins that breed in Africa. They are also known as Black-footed Penguins. Their home is on the “south-western coast of Africa, living in colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with the largest colony on Dyer Island, near Kleinbaai. Because of their donkey-like braying call they were previously named Jackass Penguins. Since several species of South American penguins produce the same sound, the African species has been renamed African Penguin, as it is the only penguin species that breeds in Africa. The presence of the penguin gave name to the Penguin Islands.” (Wikipedia)

African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) at NA by Lee

African Penguin from inside the dome at NA by Lee

African Penguins are 68-70 cm (26.7-27.5in) tall and weigh 2-5 kg or 4.4-11 lbs. “They have a black stripe and black spots on the chest, the pattern of spots being unique for every penguin, like human fingerprints. They have pink glands above their eyes. The hotter the penguin gets, the more blood is sent to these glands so it may be cooled by the surrounding air, thus making the glands more pink. The males are larger than the females and have larger beaks, but their beaks are more pointed than those of the Humboldt. Their distinctive black and white colouring is a vital form of camouflage–white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the dark water.” (Wikipedia) Our Creator has provided a built-in air conditioner and protection for them.

I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine. (Psalms 50:11 KJV)

At one time the African Penguin population had 1.5 million members, but because of threats such as egg gathering, or egg smashing, taking their burrowing material for fertilizer, oil spills and other threats, the number was only 10% of that by 2000. The natural predators include “sharks, cape fur seals and, on occasion, orcas. Land-based enemies include mongoose, genet, domestic cats and dogs – and the kelp gulls which steal their eggs and new born chicks. I don’t know for a fact, but their decline to a “vulnerable species” is probably why they are at the National Aviary and also the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida (we saw some there also). They are trying to protect and breed them.

How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end. (Jeremiah 12:4 KJV)

African Penguins are in the  Spheniscidae Family of the Sphenisciformes Order. They are the only family in the Order and have 19 species of penguins.

See Also:

Ian’s Bird of the Week – African Penguin

Interesting Things – Why Birds Don’t Wear Socks

Here are the pictures we took of the penguins at the National Aviary.

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Information from Wikipedia and National Aviary website.

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(Spheniscus demersus)

Ian’s Bird of the Week – African Penguin

African Penguin by Ian

African Penguin by Ian

Newsletter – 7/16/2009

Well now, as they say, for something completely different here is the African Penguin. I was reviewing the contents of the website a few days ago, and noticed that there weren’t any penguins. Not having yet succeeded in photographing the only resident Penguin resident in mainland Australia, the Little Penguin, I rectified this by digging out some photos of what used to be called Jackass Penguins that I took in South Africa in 2001.

African Penguins strolling by Ian

African Penguins strolling by Ian

You’re right if you think that the background in the first photo isn’t snow, or even sand for that matter, and your suspicions will be confirmed by the second one – the photos were taken in the car park at Boulders Beach south of Cape Town. (The ‘CA’ of the car number plate refers to the old Cape Province.) The penguin colony is right beside the car park, and I found that the car park itself was the easiest place to photograph these very cooperative subjects.

The name Jackass Penguin refers to the braying sound that these birds make but, as their South American relatives make similar noises and this species is the only one resident in Africa, the name African Penguin is now preferred. Being a cynic, I had thought that the name change was for reasons of political correctness. With a length of 63cm/25in this is a smallish but not tiny penguin – much larger than the Little Penguin (40-45cm/16-18in).

It occurs right around southern Africa from Port Elizabeth in the east to northern Namibia in the west. The colony at Boulders Beach is a tourist attraction, and is something of a bad-news/good-news story. The bad news is that feline predators such as leopards have become less common in populated areas, but the good news is that this has allowed the Penguins to establish mainland colonies at a couple of sites near Cape Town. Two pairs first nested at Boulders Beach in 1982 and there are now over 3,000.

On the website, I recently revised the galleries for Storks, including the Jabiru or Black-necked Stork and Bustards, mainly the Australian Bustard though I’ve added a couple of ancient shots (originally on film!) of the rather similar Kori Bustard of Africa for comparison  .

Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


See Spheniscidae – Penguin