This is the story of how the Penguin was found.
Rumours started filtering through late this afternoon of a Eudyptes penguin that had been seen earlier today in the Soetwater area. By 17h00, there was still no further information on what species it might be or where exactly it was, so a few of us packed our things and headed over there to have a look around.
We searched the stretch of coastline in the Soetwater Resort near Kommetjie for a couple of hours and turned up absolutely nothing. By just after 19h00, we had given up and were leaving to head back home. I was already passing the small village of Ocean View when I received a call from Dominic Rollinson to say that he had found the bird. Naturally, a very quick u-turn and I was flying back to Soetwater. Just a few minutes later, I joined up with the others there and we found ourselves watching a moulting NORTHERN ROCKHOPPER PENGUIN...!
The bird is showing obvious signs of active moult, but otherwise, looks to be healthy (from a layman’s point of view). The moult seems to have progressed a little bit, so I would surmise that it has probably been ashore for a day or two already. In other words, I wouldn’t leave it too much longer before heading on down there. They are normally ashore for 10 day to 2 weeks to complete their moult, but one shouldn’t leave these things too long just in case...
Soetwater Resort is a gated area and the gate times are from 08h00 in the morning until 16h30 in the afternoon. Although we managed to wangle our way in there this afternoon after their normal hours, some debating with them confirmed that they are not going to change their gate times to accommodate twitchers, so you are pretty much stuck with having to get there between those times.
You need to take the turn off just before the main admin offices and go and park down near the beach. I took co-ordinates of where I parked which are 34 deg 9’ 42”S 18 deg 19’ 47” E. There is a small red brick public toilet facility there. Walk over the low dune and down on to the rocky shoreline. The penguin was in amongst the rocks here just slightly right (as you are facing the sea) of the red brick toilet block. If it is lying down in amongst the rocks, it can be tough to pick up, so just be patient and keep scanning.