Visitors and guides aboard Southern Discoveries' Encounter Nature Cruises have spotted the rare Fiordland crested penguin, or tawaki, this month.
Nature guide Dave Newman says he's thrilled to see the Fiordland crested penguins back in Milford Sound again for the nesting season and encouraged by the number of birds spotted.
"There's more penguins this year than we saw last year, which is really positive for the colony and great for our guests as there are only up to 3000 breeding pairs in existence," he says.
Visitors have a good chance of viewing the "wildlife show" over the coming months aboard an Encounter Nature Cruise as it comes close to the colony in Penguin Cove on its way to the entrance of Milford Sound. The aptly named cove is where the penguins live during the breeding season from July to November, and again between January and March to moult. "We'll expect to see the penguins here until November when their chicks are ready to head out to sea," says Newman.