Hoiho tracking: 21 November - 20 December 2019 [article]

Thomas Mattern, Melanie Young
2020 Figshare  
Hoiho tracking is back in full swing. Deployments occurred over a broad range of site ranging from Bobby's Head and Aramoana in North Otago to Long Point and Mahaka in the Catlins and the Bravo Islands in Paterson Inlet, Rakiura/Stewart Island. Mainland data have yet to be fully consolidated and will be summarized in the January 2020 report. In this report, we will focus primarily on data obtained from GPS and camera logger deployments on hoiho from the Bravo Group islands. Field work on the
more » ... ield work on the islands commenced on 30 November 2019. Initial nest searches found only 8 active nests (down from 15 nests in 2018), which were down to only six nests by the time the field team arrived. Of these nests, four were found to contain eggs, freshly hatched or chicks <1-week old so that device deployments on these nests were put off for another week. During this period a further three of the nests failed, all of which were nests that contained eggs or freshly hatched chicks in late November. Hence, only three nests remained for the tracking work. Between 30 November and 09 December 2019, all six remaining breeding birds were fitted with camera and GPS loggers. Two birds managed to pull off the cameras before the devices could be recovered; the remaining for cameras were recovered within 24 hours of deployment. GPS loggers remained on the birds for 4-7 days. Three of the six tracked birds foraged exclusively in Big Glory Bay. Two birds foraged further westwards into Paterson Inlet; one bird left the inlet and foraged closely along the coast to Wooding Bay (Maori Beach) before returning to the nest after a night at sea. Camera data is yet to be fully analysed but preliminary assessment indicates very diverse feeding strategies with one bird feeding exclusively on krill in Big Glory Bay, another bird going after whitebait, while the remaining two cameras suggest that birds target larger fish species, e.g. mullets. Overall, it appears that the penguins experienced excellent foraging conditions with most bird performing half-day trip [...]
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.12179145.v1 fatcat:sixpzltezrh33oltmgu6nrku4m