Marine Bird Spotlight - Little Blue Penguin

These are the world’s smallest penguin measuring in at around 25cm tall and weighing in between 1kg – 1.5kgs. They are known by many names, most commonly referred to as blue penguins, little penguin and little blue penguin. They are found around most of New Zealand’s coastline and also southern Australia.

Blue Penguin

You can identify these penguins quite easily as their plumage is blue with a white underbelly.

Little Blue Penguins like to forage out to sea (Up to 25km offshore and up to 70km from their colony) during the day where they are hunting for small fish, crustaceans and squid, they return back to land under the cover of darkness and live underground in burrows, in man-made structures or under buildings even.

Penguin Blue 1

Around the age of 2-3 years old is when these penguins reach breeding age. Two eggs are generally laid between the months of August to November in their burrows. The adults will take turns to stay with the chicks not leaving them alone for the first 3 weeks, then both adults can go out to sea to forage. It is around the 8 week period that the chicks are ready to fledge. It is then that they are independent and the adults are able to stock up on food before they begin their annual moult (shed their feathers so they can grow another waterproof coat) which usually last up to 2 weeks. During this time the adults are not able to head out to sea to feed and can be particularly vulnerable as they are unable to swim and also to any predators that are around.

Life expectancy of the Little Blue Penguins is between 6-7 years however individuals have been known the live as long as 25 years old.

Little Blue Penguin 2

Main threats to these penguins are likely to be dogs, cats, ferrets and stoats. Here are a few tips from the Dept of Conservation on how you can help out these penguins:

How to make little penguins safer:

A scruffy penguin is probably moulting, not sick:

There is a small breeding colony that exists near the Kaikoura Coastguard building in South Bay, Kaikoura. Volunteers have built artificial burrows and installed them underneath for these penguins to nest in at night. These penguins can also be found nesting in the surrounding area.

Little Blue Penguin in Kaikoura

There is some great work being done by the team at K.O.R.I (Kaikoura Ocean Research Institute) with research and protection of the Little Blue Penguins in Kaikoura. Check out this link for some more information on what they do and how you can sponsor a Little Blue.

 

Kaikōura truly is a marine mecca. This week we’ve had some successful days out on the water, sighting Beaked Whales, Humpback Whales as well as the Mighty Sperm Whale! It’s so great to see the Humpback Whales still stopping in to say hello as they migrate past Kaikōura. This week we found them right off the Kaikōura Peninsula, making for a very short trip out to see them! When time allowed we also saw Dusky Dolphins, Hectors Dolphins and NZ Fur Seals on our tours, taking passengers to Barney’s Rock where a number of them reside.

Term 3 School Holidays are fast approaching, we advise you get a head start planning some fun activates for your kids now and utilise our School Holiday Special! From the 30th of September to the 15th of October 2017 (inclusive), kids travel with us for free with every full fare paying adult! Consider taking the time to visit Kaikōura and showing your tamariki the spectacular marine life on offer. Reserve your seats here before spaces fill up.

REGULAR, SCHEDULED CLOSURES OF STATE HIGHWAY 1 SOUTH OF KAIKOURA

There is a possibility of short delays and it will be 30km/hour through parts of the route. Check the NZTA website for road updates before traveling. Inland Route 70 remains open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

From Tuesday, 22nd August, drivers will need to watch for 28 metre truck loads moving bridge beams to Kaikōura, via the Lewis Pass and the inland road via Waiau/Mt Lyford. The beams are for a new bridge build as well as smaller bridge sites north of Kaikōura. Some minor delays can be expected due to the length of the load and the slow and winding nature of parts of the route. These truckloads are scheduled to follow this inland route until September.

Progress is continuing to be made on the repair of the Kaikōura Marina, with the modified trailer and public jetty now being used for launching our vessel Tohora. This is due to tidal restrictions and repair work as a result of the coastline lifting by +1.0m. All our berths have now been removed. This is an end of an era but we are excited to see our new and improved marina once it is completed! The use of the modified trailer and public jetty will continue until further notice. It is anticipated that our facilities will be restored in October 2017. Below is a graphic (indicative only) of what is being restored at the marina.

Currently our available tour times are based around the tide times on the day and may differ from the tour times originally advertised, please bear with us as we continue to work toward being fully operational again. For an update on the tour times available, please contact our Customer Service team directly either by email on res@whalewatch.co.nz, phone +64 3 319 6767 or free phone 0800 655 121 (within NZ) and they will be able to help you with your inquiry.  Please note we are operating at a reduced capacity in the interim with up to 3 tours available per day. Please contact our team prior to arriving in Kaikōura to secure a space on one of our tours and to save disappointment.

KAIKOURA BUSINESS UPDATE

Kaikōura is open for business. For latest updates on accommodation, restaurant and retail information please contact the team at the Kaikōura I-Site who will be able to help you find what suits your needs during your stay in Kaikōura. 

TRANSPORT UPDATE

Hasslefree Tours & Canterbury Leisure Tours have daily services from Christchurch to Kaikōura with a return service from Christchurch, as well as Kiwi Experience now having the option of a day tour out of Christchurch for their travellers.

Progress on the work being done on roads (along with harbour repairs) can be found on this dedicated KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE RESPONSE page provided by the team at NZTA. This page is updated weekly on Friday. Work is also starting to take place on the railway network, please be aware and take care when using rail crossings.

The team at Whale Watch Kaikoura.