Little Penguins – Thursday 22nd December 2011

The weather in Melbourne is cyclical. The heat builds to great intensity and then the wind changes, the cloud comes up and the temperature plummets. Today is a scotching day.

It’s a good job we wanted to make this particular trip just as the sun goes down!

You CAN pay to see Little Penguins on Philip Island OR you can walk down to St Kilda’s breakwater at sunset and watch them for free.

They are about 30 cm tall and some 200 of them have chosen Melbourne for their all year round residence. It’s the season for chicks at the moment. Hidden between the gigantic concrete boulders they peep out, waiting for the parent to bring supper.

Sometimes they stand on the blocks for ages, presumably not wanting to go back to face the hectic cries of the unfed family. They are incredibly brave, and providing no-one uses flash photography, they don’t seem camera shy.
you can watch them swim in through the harbour, hop up over the beach and negotiate the boulders to navigate their way straight back to their own nest. Despite the 200 people who watched them do this.

If you do this during June or July, there is no-one there much, but in high season yellow jacketed supporters give information about the penguins and check the human behavior.

When it is quite dark they use red lights to illuminate their activities. Apparently penguins cannot see red light so this does not interfere with them at all. I loved listening to them sing and chatter to each other.

Another amazing animal encounter!


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