The St. Kilda fairy penguins are like a preview to the Phillip Island fairy penguin population, but St. Kilda is much, much closer and more easily accessible.
After being out in the water all day, the penguins come home at dusk to their nests within the rocks on the St. Kilda Pier breakwater.
In the summer, apparently, there are tons of penguins, but the sunsets can be as late as 9 pm, where complete darkness won’t fall until 10 pm. We wanted to see the penguins earlier, so we waited until winter. However, fewer penguins live here/make the daily trek in winter, so it wasn’t the event we thought it might be.
While we were sitting on an (uncomfrotably pointy) rock waiting for the action to begin, I noticed some movement in the rocks behind us. Lo and behold, it was a penguin!
This one must not have travelled out that day and was cozied up in his little nest underneath rocks. The fairy penguins are almost blue in tone and have a small yellow patch on the front of their neck.
At first, we were the only people who knew he was there because we were sitting with him. However, once someone else saw, word got out quickly and the penguin (and us) were instantly surrounded by tons of people and cameras.
Finally, another tiny penguin emerged on the rocks above the water a bit later.
The people in fluorescent yellow jackets were the penguin patrol. They controlled the crowds, reminded people not to use flash, and created a safe radius around the penguins. Their job wasn’t too hard this night, but I’m sure it could get frantic in the summer.
Probably most beautiful of all were the amazing views of the sunset; the gradient looked like a rainbow!