New Zealand Day Thirteen: A Yellow-Eyed Penguin And A Tour Of The Otago Peninsula
One of the highlights of my trip to Stewart Island was seeing a crested penguin in the wild. I now only needed to see a rare yellow-eyed penguin to have observed all of the major species of penguins on the planet. And I was hoping to do that on my tour of the Otago Peninsula in the afternoon.
The tour bus from the Monarch Wildlife Tour I booked left the Dunedin Visitor Center iSITE at 1:15. There were about twenty people on the tour. We left the city and crossed the narrow isthmus that connected the it to the Otago Peninsula.
Once again the guide was great. He provided us with information about the geology, flora, fauna and history of the peninsula, both the native Maori and early European settlers. We listened as we left the suburbs of Dunedin on the western end of the peninsula. The hills were now sparsely populated and used mostly for sheep farming.
The bus stopped a few times to allow us to take photographs of the scenery. The peninsula forms a long narrow harbor between the mainland and the Pacific Ocean. This is a view of the Dunedin sports complex I visited the day before.
We learned about the history of the first settlers on the peninsula as we drove along the winding roads.
I was told we would get better views of the birds from the harbor cruise. I still had some time to get a quick look at the visitor center. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my bus ride. New Zealand day Thirteen Otago Peninsula bus ride.
We next drove to Penguin Place, the yellow-eyed penguin conservation reserve. We were shown a short presentation about the work of the preserve.
The yellow-eyed penguin is the most ancient and rarest species of penguin. Only around 4000 remain and they are in danger of extinction. The destruction of the native vegetation, rising oceans and commercial fishing have devastated the local population of these penguins.
The preserve also cares for other species of penguins, including crested and rockhopper penguins. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from the penguin hospital New Zealand Day Thirteen.
Fortunate we were to see one of these birds in the wild during the day. I was elated. I have viewed all of the major species of penguins in their native environment! Here is a link to a gallery with more photos of the yellow-eyed penguin. New Zealand Day Thirteen. Yellow-eyed penguin.
We couldn’t stay long. We had to get to the dock for a boat watching excursion in the harbor. Here is a link to some more photos from the New Zealand Day Thirteen: Penguin Place Preserve.
The captain, once again, was very helpful in familiarizing us with the local wildlife. His eyesight was amazing. He almost immediately spotted a blue penguin swimming in the ocean. He provided us with so much information about the penguins as we watched the little fellow swim near the boat.
including this mother with her young pup. Here is a link to a gallery of more photos of the seals. New Zealand Day Thirteen fur seals. February 18 2019.
We also saw shags, terns, herons and many other birds on our tour near the royal albatross colony and our ride back to Dunedin. Here is a link to a gallery with some more of these photographs. New Zealand Day Thirteen: Otago Peninsula: birds February 18 2019.
It was near sunset when we arrived at the dock in Dunedin. It was a long day, I was tired and had a very early flight the next morning. However, I was more hungry than tired and decided to eat at the fine dining restaurant Bacchus. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my harbor cruise. New Zealand Day Thirteen. Otago Harbor cruise February 18 2019.
It was a good decision, I enjoyed my meat of local fish and vegetables. I walked back to my hotel, packed, and made arrangements for a taxi at 4:30 a.m. It was sad leaving the South Island but also excited to explore the North Island. First stop Rotorua.
Penguins are an indicator of the health of our watery planet, and if they are unable to survive, we had better take notice, or we may find our own survival threatened. Roger Tory Peterson