The autumn break signals the end of the breeding season for many of our seabirds. With most of the Little Penguins at Middle Island now finished their annual moult, there won’t be much activitity at Middle Island for the months ahead.
With our dusk arrival count schedule now complete and only one chick yet to fledge being monitored on the island, our program is wrapping up for 2013-14.
This season has reflected the complexities of nature, particularly the sea environment, and how it influences the activity and breeding success of our nesting seabirds.
We have observed a significantly lower number of adult little penguins arriving to the island over this season compared to recent seasons, and few pairs engaging in breeding activities. The environmental conditions that have contributed to this result have been explored in our previous blogs, particularly how variable sea surface temperatures and currents can be, and how significantly they impact food availability. The Maremma project will continue to be vital in reducing land based pressures, particularly in light of all these other challenges the colony can face.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers that are so important in making sure the monitoring program successfully continues year after year.
This season alone, volunteers contributed over 200 hours of combined time to the arrival counts and breeding surveys. We also signed up an additional 51 people to our mailing list, meaning a 276-strong support group keeping in touch with the program.
Together the Warrnambool Coastcare Landcare Group, Warrnambool City Council and NGT send out a big thanks!