Great Annual West Coast Blue Penguin Count

NatureWatch mapNatureWatch has proved to be a useful tool for recording penguin tracks, which have been counted and reported over the length of the West Coast!

Penguin enthusiasts checked out their local beach from deepest South Westland to northern Buller last month for the Great Annual Blue Penguin Count and returned a variety of reports from none, to some, to heaps of tracks! 

All of this information is useful for the Trust and the Count is a great motivator to get out and get reacquainted with the local beach.  

20171005 penguin tracks HokitikaReports from Haast, Okarito and Carters Beach indicated that numbers were down on previous years but we must not be disheartened.  Within the space of several days, a count near Hokitika varied from a handful of tracks, to 39, to 60, with no obvious variation in weather or sea conditions.  Similar reports came from northern Buller where for a few days there were several tracks in a couple of sections of beach, but then nothing for a couple of days – perhaps they were out fishing!

The key value of the Count for the Trust is knowing where penguins are and in connecting Coasters to their beautiful coastline and local wildlife.  Other comments can be useful too, perhaps about erosion. 

Penguins will be fledging chicks now and for the next few weeks, and activity and tracks across the beach will be reducing.  However, a few will use their burrows throughout the year, so keep an eye out for those straight lines of penguin tracks left behind as they dash to the sea or back to their burrows under cover of darkness.  

And watch out for the next Great Annual Blue Penguin Count in October 2018!   It’s fun to do and even better with friends.

In the meantime, NatureWatch is available for you to record any observations at any time – whether penguin tracks (under our ongoing penguin project) or a special bird or unusual toadstool or ….  

Micaela O'Leary photgraphs penguin footprints and adds straight into the NatureWatch observation on her smart phone

Micaela O’Leary photographs penguin footprints and adds the image straight into the NatureWatch app