Sunday, February 3, 2013

Little Blue Penguin, the Australian Way

There are about 20 or so little blue penguins who nest around the St. Kilda pier.  So of course I had to go visit them.

I arrived a bit late, the few penguins were already ashore (or, more accurately, a-rock) - but there was one little guy standing amongst the rocks just inches from the walkway.  The rest already seemed to be tucked into the nooks and crannies they use for their burrows - but this one little guy was preening and fixing his feathers and trying to dry off before tucking himself in for the night.

So I sat down on a large rock next to him, and had a little chat.  I asked if he had a partner to keep warm with during the night.  No answer.  I asked if he was okay.  No answer.  

A father and two young boys came by, the youngest boy in tears - the father told the two boys to say goodnight to the penguin, so the older boy waved, and the younger boy said he'd already told the penguin goodnight.  He then started to cry even harder.  The father asked what was wrong.  The little boy said, "But I want to kiss the penguin goodnight."  The father tried not to laugh (I also managed not to laugh) and explain that penguins don't kiss goodnight.

They wandered off, others walked off the pier, I stayed behind chatting with my little penguin.  Then he turned around, looked at me, and flapped his wings (flippers, really) furiously, almost at high speed like a hummingbird, as if he was trying to fly.  Then he reached up with both flippers, as if he was sending me a little penguin hug - then he turned around the other way.

So I wished him goodnight also, and I left.

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