I've kept this blog, on and off, since 2006. In 2015 I used it to chart daily encounters, images, thoughts and feelings about volcanic basalt/bluestone in Melbourne and Victoria, especially in the first part of the year. I plan to write a book provisionally titled Bluestone: An Emotional History, about human uses of and feelings for bluestone. But I am also working on quite a few other projects and a big grant application, especially now I am on research leave. I'm working mostly from home, then, for six months, and will need online sociability for company!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Year with Bluestone: Penguins!!!

Fiona sent me this video. As she says, it's a bit cheesy, but I don't care because.... little penguins!

Years ago I did some kind of word cloud search on this blog and "little" was one of the words I used most often. It's not a word I feel I'm going to use a lot to describe bluestone, but here I am using it technically to name Eudalyptor minor, or the "fairy penguin".

When tourists visit Melbourne, they sometimes go on a long busride to Philip Island to see the penguins come ashore at dusk from their day's fishing. But you can also take a stroll down St Kilda Pier. In this video you can see volunteer guides protecting the penguins, so it looks as if they are being well guarded. Years ago I took Joel there, when he was about three or four. We would have been heading out to the kiosk at the end of the pier for hot chips or icecream, but we also walked out along the breakwater, where there were quite a few men fishing. One of them beckoned us down and we peered in among the rocks and saw a young penguin waiting in its nest for its parents to come home.

The breakwater is made of enormous bluestone boulders. It seems to have been built in the 1950s, for the 1956 Olympic Games. The Earthcare St Kilda website says this:
Although not constructed with Little Penguins in mind, the volcanic rocks used to construct the breakwater proved to be ideal burrows for Little Penguins:
  • The thermal properties of the rocks keep the penguins relatively warm in winter and cool in summer, and
  • The gaps between the rocks allow penguins, their eggs and their chick to remain well hidden from seagulls and other potential predators.
And here they are!  Click to watch full screen.

St Kilda - Penguins from sylvain grolleau on Vimeo.

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