Penguins, Seals and Sheep

May 15, 2021  •  8 Comments

After our sunrise shoot and breakfast, we left the hotel around 9.30 to continue on to Oamaru for lunch and a walk around the town.  Oamaru is the largest town in north Otago, in the South Island of New Zealand.  Around 4.15 PM, we left the hotel in pouring rain to look for little blue penguins and fur seals.  We sat in the van for at least 15 minutes, hoping the rain would stop and we were fortunate that it did and the sun started to come out.

We did see these fur seals from the cliffs where we were standing.  

I took a quick series of shots.

The Maori name for the fur seal is "kekeno" which means "looks-arounds".  By the close of the 19th century, hunters and sealers had almost driven these animals to extinction.  Fortunately, these fur seals are quite common now and their numbers are growing.  These New Zealand fur seals are excellent swimmers and the pups, once weaned will sometimes travel great distances as far away as Australia.  

We spent quite a while on the cliffs looking for yellow-eyed penguins. Fortunately, we were able to see one.  This species is endemic to New Zealand. Perhaps we only saw one, due to their significant decline over the past 20 years.

The yellow-eyed penguin is considered one of the rarest penguin species in the world and is listed as an endangered species.  

This penguin spent some time just sleeping and enjoying the sun that finally came out.  He totally ignored our group and the other tourists.  I was actually photographing him from a long distance but some of the people were much closer.  We were on a pretty slippery and muddy path so I was happy to stay in one place.  One eye and flipper  opened up.

Back to sleep.  Some individual penguins can live up to the age of 20.

The yellow-eyed penguin cannot be found in zoos because they will not reproduce in captivity.

Our sunset shoot was photographing the hillsides and sheep.

 Philip promised us one chance to photograph sheep.  The sheep are actually everywhere in New Zealand.

The whole area reminded me a bit of Tuscany.


Garnet Rich(non-registered)
I loved the South Island, looking through your Amazing pictures took me back in time and my trip there. Thanks for sharing...
Jane Jamison(non-registered)
Loved the penguin! The shot where it's looking up is stunning! I think NZ's sheep are like the zebras in the Maasai Mara; intriguing at first, then "ho hum...another one." Still, they're good subjects!
Elaine MacLeod(non-registered)
The New Zealand pictures are stunning, Marsha. I may never go there so I'm happy to see it through your lens.
So great to have things coming through again.
The landscapes are amazing.
Thanks for the lift to my spirits.
Tricia Matheson(non-registered)
Great title for this post! Especially loved your remarkable photographs of the rare yellow-eyed penguin. This penguin looked very soft and adorable. Great story about the come-back of the fur seals, who can swim all the way to Australia!!! Wow! These animals are REALLY tough. Your landscapes of the bucolic NewZealand countryside were stunning. Thoroughly enjoyed this blog post, Marsha!
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