Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Yesterday I mentioned that I once saw a flock of penguins skipping over the tops of the waves in Port Phillip Bay. I was standing on the beach at the end of Victoria Avenue; this is the same street where Mama brought me home right after I was born:
Sure, there are penguins in Australia; Eudyptula minor, or Little Penguins, are found on the coastlines of South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, New Zealand, and possible sitings in Chile. It is possible for tourists to see them 'parade' across the beach at Phillip Island - an island-like peninsula south of Melbourne:
They are known as 'Fairy Penguins' in Australia because of their tiny size. In New Zealand they are also called Little Blue Penguins, or just Blue Penguins, owing to their slate-blue plumage, and in Māori they are called Kororā.
Fairy Penguins are the smallest species of the penguin family - about 43 cm (16") tall.
They're really just like a pack of blue chickens that swim.
I know what I saw when I saw them swimming out in the bay. What I didn't realize is that the place is positively infested with the little buggers; here is a Fairy Penguin scrambling over the breakwater at St. Kilda, which is right in the middle of greater Melbourne and just down the road a bit from where I was born: