Penguin watchers switch to daytime count

Penguins on Marine Parade.
John Bisset

Penguins on Marine Parade.

Penguin counters in Timaru will swap their nighttime shifts for daytime ones this spring.

Penguin Support Group group co-ordinator Peter Bennett said a new counting method would be used this year.

"This year we will be using a different counting method using their daytime location rather than what comes in after dark," Bennett said.

The method focused on penguin breeding numbers rather than the number of birds counted after dark, he said.

"The method is used along Banks Peninsula. We are going to be looking at nest locations along Marine Parade."

Bennett said at the last unofficial count, on September 27, there were five penguins spotted in the bay.

"It is time for penguins to start their family and they are returning to the bay slowly. Based on the five we are hoping for two nests."

In spring in 2014, the group spotted nine or 10 breeding pairs which only produced five chicks.

Bennett said the new method would be more convenient for the group members.

"There will be counting activities for our members during day time and it will be done fortnightly. It will be better than going out in the evening and staying out till 11 or 12pm."

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The method will potentially be used in a month's time, he said, depending on the Department of Conservation.

"They are experienced and will be helping us use the method."

The group now has 20 members and is responsible for looking after penguins in the Caroline Bay area.

 - Stuff

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