Friday, June 29, 2012

Penguin nest check at night

After the fourth day of the penguin with the logger being away from its nest, it was time to check the nest at night to see if perhaps it was visiting its partner and chicks under the cover of darkness.

With head torches on and fingers crossed, we headed slowly into the north east corner of the island at 7:30 pm, into the penguin colony. Penguins were braying and chicks were making small cries, begging food, as we walked along a stony path North Perimeter Road in the dark. The nest we were headed to was just east of the large quarry. 
We made our way slowly in the dark to the spot under a large rooikrans bush where the nest was and peered under the bush with our head torches. Both the penguin with the logger and its partner were on the nest! We quickly retrieved the logger from the penguin and measured its bill dimensions and mass. Then left both parents together with their two chicks at their nest under a rooikrans and starry sky. Hooray, the penguin returned!

Back at the research house, the data was downloaded from the GPS-TD logger and here is where that penguin went:

The penguin went a distance of 15 km from its nest. Further data analyses of the path length, and dive data are underway.

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