Saturday, March 7, 2009

Penguins add cuteness to Phillip Island

Penguins add cuteness to Phillip Island's eclectic charm

By Mike O'Connor

March 06, 2009 11:00pm

IN THE late afternoon light the penguins appear as dark wavelets at the water's edge, taking shape as they emerge and form into battalions before making a heroic charge for the sand dunes and the safety of their burrows.

Those intending to watch the Phillip Island penguin parade are advised to take a warm jacket and an adequate display of patience. We neglected to pack the latter and were reduced to a state of nail-biting frustration as the penguins debated the wisdom of leaving the safety of the water.

A group would advance and then retreat, spooked by an unseen threat. Then another would move forward, progress halfway up the beach and then retreat in a frantic, stumbling panic. Another squad would take up the challenge and make it to within 20m of the dunes before one and then another would falter and again, a general retreat would ensue.

"If they don't make it next time, I'm going to go down and drag them up the beach," muttered my partner.

"I don't know that they allow that," I said.

Perhaps the penguins heard her. Whatever the reason, they suddenly gathered their collective courage and made a mass assault on the beach, invading the dunes and waddling among the hundreds of tourists gathered for this nightly spectacle.

"Aren't they cute," cooed my partner, forgetting that minutes earlier she had threatened to haul them by the neck from the water.


Image and story courtesy of Courier Mail @,23739,25137900-17102,00.html

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