Penguins at Stony Point
Stony Point, the home of the African penguin. Ocean, mountains and birds ensure great photographic opportunities.

This bird colony is one of the most beautiful and interesting seascapes along the African coast, and is the only area where mountains are found in such close proximity to the sea. Several sea birds breed in this colony, almost all of which are in decline. Up until 1982, all Penguin colonies were on islands along the Cape and Namibian coasts. Since then these birds have established themselves at the Boulders in Simonstown on the Cape Peninsula, and here at Stony Point. Although small by comparison, these relatively new breeding sites far apart from the more established ones, are vital for the protection of this species mainly from the many oil spills, which are an on-going threat, due to the illegal flushing out of emptied oil tankers at sea.

Penguins nests in burrows or small depressions that they dig out, usually under vegetation or rocks, they mate for life and both parents share the brooding and feeding duties. Penguins are easily disturbed by noise and sudden movements, but readily accept people who do not pose a threat. Three species of cormorant nest here; the Whitebreasted Cormorant, the Cape Cormorant and the Bank Cormorant. All cormorants are endangered due to oil spills, the lack of food, and disturbance by Cape Seals and humans in certain areas. The Bank Cormorant is listed as vulnerable in the Red Data book as its numbers have fallen by 25,5% over the past three years. Other birds that are frequently seen are Kelp Gulls, Hartlaubs Gull and the African Black Oystercatcher which attempts to breed on our beaches, but as the season coincides with the summer holidays here when human disturbance is at it’s peak, they have not been very successful. This Penguin colony has recently been declared a Nature Reserve and monitoring and data gathering is being done on a continual basis.

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