Penguin Spotting at Motunau

A well known fishing spot north of Christchurch, Dean and I went to Motenau beach back in March twice at dusk to find some penguins. Neither of us had ever been there.

Motunau Island, which was once a whaling station, is now a nature reserve for some of New Zealand’s rarest birds, including the endangered white flippered penguin.  There are about 1,800 pairs of penguins on Motenau Island (access is restricted to Department of Conversation staff), and because the island is now overcrowded, DoC staff have moved some penguins to other areas and set up some breeding areas. We discovered that some nesting boxes have been set up on the nearby beach to encourage some of the penguins to go there, so we decided to visit in the hope of spotting a few…

The first thing we spotted were some guys on a stag night (Motenau Island is in the background):

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It was such a beautiful beach at sunset, and the sun reflecting against the rocks and Island was stunning:

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Walking further around the beach, we spotted lots of fossils and driftwood, including this hut:

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Walking up and down the beach:

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In the end, we didn’t see any penguins; just some nesting boxes. We’ll try again sometime during the next breeding season. Check out a few more photos of Motunau Beach on my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/97210148@N08/sets/72157634593310010/

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