Friday, July 27, 2012

Loggerbird spotted!

Amazingly, the latest penguin to be equipped with a GPS-TD logger on 25 July was seen swimming ashore late this afternoon at the south-east end of Robben Island opposite Sobukwe house. Tomorrow we will check this bird's nest to try and retrieve the device. Hopefully, if this penguin is back and we retrieve the logger we will be able to see where this penguin went foraging. Over the last two field seasons of GPS-logger deployments on Robben, this is the only time that a penguin with a logger has been seen coming ashore!

Can you spot the penguin with the logger device? The GPS-TD logger device looks a bit like a black backpack with a yellow top. Play the penguin version of Where's Waldo? 

Here is a picture taken of this bird at its nest before it was equipped with the logger with its two small downy chicks. The head of one chick and the behind of the other can just be seen sticking out from under the adult penguin. The nest is just south of what was once the maximum security prison on Robben, now a world heritage site and museum.
Hopefully, this penguin which has returned to Robben Island from the sea, makes it home to its nest tonight! 

The last month has been a whirl of penguin field work. 

During the first two weeks, the fantastic 5th EarthWatch team of the year assisted with 5 GPS-TD logger deployments, thanks to help of the volunteers Doug and Frank, the leader Nola and assistants Corlia and Jordan.  Here you can see the team helping Kate to measure the partner of a loggerbird and its chicks.

The day the team left, another deployment was conducted with the help of Mario, the Environmental Officer of Robben Island Museum, and Emilee who conducts Bank Cormorant nest monitoring on Jutten Island. Then the next week, a big effort was made to get as many penguins equipped with loggers in the sea during an acoustic pelagic fish survey which took place around Robben Island.  We had the good fortune to have 4 penguins at sea during the survey. More details of those penguin tracks coming soon. 

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