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|August 6, 2010|
|Greetings, Today we went to Betty's Bay. It’s been two long days in a row, but totally worth it. No boat was needed as it is one of the land-based colonies. It is a completely different terrain here than at Dyer Island. Dyer Island is flat as a pancake and all sand and some grass. Betty's bay is all rocky cliffs and shoreline covered with thick brush and bushes. Just a 100 yards back from the penguin colony are houses. The people here hate the penguins, I am told, and are always trying to find ways to keep them off their property. We again met up with Dion and Petey and began on our way. Today was much more difficult than yesterday. Getting the birds out of the bush is quite hard. They can run away from you here, and you get jabbed in the face with branches. I had some stuck in my hair, in my shoes and down my shirt. I got beat up by the penguins quite a bit more today than yesterday, too! I think because it was harder to get the birds, they had more time to react and become stressed. I asked Nola if I was doing okay and if she had any advice, but she told me if I wasn't doing a good job, she would have stepped in and caught the birds herself and handed them over. So I guess even through all my strife, I was doing okay. We performed all the same tests as yesterday, and any birds that poop on me make Nola very happy, as she can also get a guano sample scrapped off my pants. Betty's Bay is a very small colony, but it is the only colony where the penguin population is increasing in numbers. There are no artificial nests here, just bushes. Nola says we will be going to Robben Island at the beginning of next week. She does not yet have her permit to collect blood, so we will most likely just be doing retraps (sightings of banded birds that have been rehabilitated and released from oil spills, etc.). She also still wants to go to Dassen Island next week before she leaves, but the weather might not work out. On Sunday, I’ll be shadowing and helping at SANCCOB.|
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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