Stewart Island breeding locations revisited
Three seasons after a comprehensive nest census on the north east coast of Stewart Island, it was deemed useful to revisit three breeding locations to see if the numbers compared with the earlier visit, and to look carefully for juvenile yellow-eyed penguins – an indication of breeding success.
The Project Officer took four volunteers along to get first hand experience of the work, to do those long hours of beach counts, and to learn about crawling through vines and penguin poo to locate nests.
There were seasickness, large rats, and enough equipment and food (but no meat as someone inadvertently left it in a fridge at Halfmoon Bay) to outlast a week of storms. The weather was great, and the early 5 am starts thrilling. The results were somewhat predictable with the indication of a similar number of breeding pairs as last time, but ominously no juveniles were identified on or near any of the beaches we surveyed.
The Trust hopes to support research into the relationship of feral cats and the yellow-eyed penguin breeding locations in the future.