September 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm
We arrived at Neils Beach, the small settlement about 5 km from Jackson Head late yesterday after witnessing substantial flooding along the Jackson Bay Road. The weather over here was really bad the past few days. I think our 24 hours delay for our departure was a good call.
Indeed it was, as today the West Coast enjoys beautiful blue skies and sunshine. Perfect conditions to go out and get cracking with our work.
Just after lunch we made our way out to the penguin breeding areas with the intention to deploy a few more nest cameras and to fit the first GPS dive loggers on chick feeding female tawaki. As could be expected, we found mainly male penguins guarding their small chicks or incubating eggs that should hatch very soon. On a couple of nests we found pairs, where the females had returned early to feed their young. Access to these nests was difficult, so that we did not bother these birds to stick devices on the females. Later afternoon, early evening seens most of the females return to feed their chicks, so that that time of the day is much better for what we want to do.
Unfortunately, the tide was not on our side. High tide was at 8pm. This combined with the fact that there was a considerable swell hitting Jackson Head meant that we could not get in or out of the penguin breeding areas between 5pm and 11pm.
So it will be another nightshift for us. We’ll head out around 10.30pm tonight. Hopefully we will manage to bring out three devices. Problem is, that the weather forecast predicts rain for tonight. Hard to imagine when you look at the blue skies that stretch over the West Coast at the moment.
Then again, this is the West Coast. So we better brace ourselves for a wet evening.