The African penguin colony at Boulders Beach. — Pictures by CK LimThe African penguin colony at Boulders Seaside. — Images by CK LimCAPE Town, June eighteen — Most readers to Cape Town either head north to take pleasure in Table Mountain or south to Cape Issue, relying on regardless of whether they want to feel at the best of the environment or at the finish of the Earth.

Still there’s a further piece of paradise midway concerning the two pure landmarks, one particular that is dwelling to some of the cutest creatures on land or in drinking water: penguins!

A “sea” of penguins on the beach.A “sea” of penguins on the beach front.Especially these are African penguins. However an endangered species, they flourish below, in a protected sanctuary at Boulders Seaside in Simon’s Town. There are only 26,000 breeding pairs of African penguins still left in the environment. At Boulders Seaside, there is a flourishing colony of quite a few thousand birds — very a sight to witness very first hand.

The waters are tranquil and very heat, rich with fish. The beach front is sandy and the granite boulders that give the beach front its identify are 540 million decades aged. More importantly, these huge boulders safeguard the penguin colony from the sea and wind, building it excellent for nesting.

A donkey braying? No, it’s an African penguin calling for its mate! (left). A parent feeding its chick (right).A donkey braying? No, it’s an African penguin calling for its mate! (still left). A mum or dad feeding its chick (ideal).If there is a sea of fish out in the ocean waiting around to be caught, wait around until it’s early in the morning or late in the afternoon. That is when the penguins arrive ashore and it gets a veritable “sea” of black and white covering the whole beach front.

When you listen to the mating phone calls of these African Penguins, you’ll quickly have an understanding of why they utilized to be known as jackass penguins. Their loud and in-your-deal with braying reminds you more of a donkey (as a result the jackass moniker) than the cute birds in front of you.

Nesting in sandy burrows or numbered plastic containers.Nesting in sandy burrows or numbered plastic containers.However it may possibly all look like a complete large amount of sounds, every simply call is distinctive and soon after mating, every bird will recognise its partner’s simply call from across the beach front.

When African penguins do breed throughout the 12 months, the most important nesting year runs from February to August. The birds prefer the shady and leafy bush, digging into the sandy burrows.

“Are you looking at me?” (left). Preening to keep its feathers sea-worthy (right).“Are you on the lookout at me?” (still left). Preening to maintain its feathers sea-deserving (ideal).Conservationists below at Boulders Seaside have also furnished numbered plastic containers inside of the protected region to persuade penguins to nest properly.

African penguins mate for life and the committed associates will acquire turns to incubate their eggs. Afterwards, soon after the chicks have hatched, the mother and father continue on alternating likely out to sea to capture fish — mostly pilchards and anchovies — and keeping at the nest to feed and safeguard their youthful.

The sight of penguins out at sea can be an amusing one particular, but possibly not so to the men on the fishing boats out for the very same haul.

Fishing boat sharing the same fishing waters as the penguins.Fishing boat sharing the very same fishing waters as the penguins.Apart from the penguins and individuals, Cape fur seals are also in the drinking water searching for fish. Generally known as the “dogs of the ocean”, Cape fur seals have become opportunistic feeders thanks to dwindling fish stocks from overfishing.

Consequently, they will fortunately prey on penguins which will make the “supply runs” by penguin mother and father wrought with hazard.

A Cape fur seal harem.A Cape fur seal harem.Typically you will see these Cape fur seals basking on rocks, taking pleasure in the warmth of the sunshine. One particular will be much larger than the rest — the dominant male with his harem of females that can selection as lots of as fifty.

They seem playful — and certainly they are, specifically in drinking water — but the penguins know they are not to be messed up with lest a supper of penguin flippers finish up on the menu!

Cape shags “sunbathing” on rocks.Cape shags “sunbathing” on rocks.There are other seabirds that prey on fish, as well, of study course. Cape shags (also known as Cape cormorrants) “sunbathe” on rocks when they are not swooping into the waters with an instinctive grace.

More menacing and troublesome are the seagulls, as they are more than eager on incorporating a snack of unguarded eggs or new child chicks to their diet.

Apart from aerial strikes from seagulls, the penguin chicks are also in hazard from assaults on land from a darkish gray, slender, pretty much snake-like mammal.

The Cape grey mongoose is another predator that preys on penguin young.The Cape gray mongoose is a further predator that preys on penguin youthful.The Cape gray mongoose is a modest predator, achieving only about 60 centimetres in size as older people, but it is a fearsome enemy when you’re a very small chick.

When it feeds mostly on bugs and modest rodents, it won’t say no to a address of youthful African penguins either.

The herbivorous rock hyrax.The herbivorous rock hyrax.Significantly less dangerous to the penguin colony is the herbivorous rock hyrax. If you listen to a litany of unidentifiable grunts and snorts, wails and nervous twitters — which is the “song” of the rock hyrax.

Resembling a stout guinea pig, it’s actually not a rodent but more intently connected to the African elephant! (Appear intently and you might spot a pair of tusk-like incisors…)

A seagull looking out for an unguarded penguin egg or chick.A seagull on the lookout out for an unguarded penguin egg or chick.Apart from the penguins, shags and seagulls, a further bird you’re possible to spot at Boulders Seaside is the Egyptian goose, “grazing” among the sandy brush.

Its unique darkish patches all over its eyes and apricot-hued breast will make it a favoured ornamental bird in the gardens of aristocracy.

Egyptian geese “grazing” amongst the sandy brush.Egyptian geese “grazing” among the sandy brush.Below in the wild, it’s only a further winged creature taking pleasure in the heat weather conditions. You’re unlikely to see its eggs, on the other hand, as Egyptian geese nest in massive holes in trees and not the ground.

By and massive, African penguins are not as well concerned with their neighbours nevertheless. They are more fascinated in every other. Some penguins waddle soon after every other in a row like an avian variation of el Payaso del Rodeo, the Mexican line dance.

Penguins doing the el Payaso del Rodeo or Mexican line dance.Penguins doing the el Payaso del Rodeo or Mexican line dance.One particular can pretty much listen to the percussive hum of a pair of maracas subsequent these determined nevertheless playful tuxedo-ed fellows.

Typically the colony engage in their day-to-day actions from the incessant fishing and feeding to only preening to maintain its feathers sea-deserving. Now and then a solitary bird may possibly turn in direction of you, as if inquiring “Are you on the lookout at me?”, in advance of ambling in excess of in curiosity.

Your new penguin pal may possibly then peck at your shoelaces or possibly pose for a picture. As inquisitive as we are about them, possibly our feathered close friends come across our presence a rummy issue as well. Perhaps they are only inviting us to sign up for their celebration?

Boulders Seaside Penguin Colony
Kleintuin Rd, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Open everyday: Dec-Jan 7am-seven:30pm Feb-Mar 8am-6:30pm Apr-Sep 8am-5pm Oct-Nov 8am-6:30pm
Tel: +27 21 786 2329
Entrance payment: Grown ups R70 (RM23) and little ones R35 (RM11.fifty)

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