Puttin’ On The Ritz

15 Aug

Fred, Ginger and Unknown

“Now, if you’re blue
And you don’t know where to go to
Why don’t you go where fashion sits
Puttin’ on the Ritz
Different types who wear a daycoat
Pants with stripes and cutaway coat
Perfect fits
Puttin’ on the Ritz”

-Irving Berlin

In a wind sheltered cove called Boulders Beach, safe from predators like sharks, Cape Fur seals and Killer whales, lives a very big colony of South African penguins.

Boulders are 540 million years old

Though their black and white coat is suited for going out on the town, it is, actually, an excellent form of camouflage. White, for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the water.

The penguins that dance at the Ritz eat caviar, but the penguins at Boulders eat squid, anchovies and sardines.

Endangered specie

South African penguins, like tap dancers, are an endangered specie. The uncontrolled harvesting of penguin eggs and guano scraping nearly drove the specie to extinction.

Mates for life

Penguins choose just one partner and remain in that breeding pair for life.  This colony started with just one breeding pair in 1982 and there are now 2,200 in the colony.

Because of their donkey-like braying they were called “Jackass” penguins. But their name was changed to South African because they are not the only penguins that bray but they are the only penguins that breed in South Africa.

Dana and I were treated to a whole chorus of braying while walking through the colony.  The penguin throws his beak skyward, kind of works up a head of steam and finally lets loose with the very loud bray that is answered by others. Quite raucus and quite fun.

I danced my flippers off

4 Responses to “Puttin’ On The Ritz”

  1. Maryl August 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    How wonderful to witness the penguins in their natural habitat. We only see them in our local zoo. Reminds me of the movie “Happy Feet” – I can just see them dancing to “Puttin’ on the Ritz”. Are there other indigenous fauna that we would be surprised to know about that are only found in So. Africa?

    • Jill August 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

      I am sure there are some but we haven’t heard about them yet. If anybody else knows the answer to Maryl’s question, please post.

  2. Ursula Freer August 15, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    Quite wonderful! Here’s a totally different version of “Putin on the Ritz” – misspelling on purpose!

    • Jill August 15, 2012 at 9:21 am #

      Hi Ursula:
      We didn’t get the link. Do you have it? Glad you liked the entry.

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