Monday, November 22, 2010

Information on penguin viewing at Lillico Beach

The little or fairy penguin is found only in southern Australia and New Zealand. It is the smallest but noisiest of all penguins. Lillico Beach Conservation Area stretching 3 km from Leith on the west to Don Heads on the east is the breeding ground for some three thousand little penguins, the second-largest colony on Tasmania’s ‘mainland’.

The primary aim of the Friends of Lillico Penguins Group (FoLP) is to protect the Little Penguin breeding colony at Lillico Beach near Devonport. We work very closely with the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) striving to ensure that visitors who come to view the breeding penguins do not harm the birds or their diminished habitat. FOLP also:

  • help protect and manage the native habitat of the Lillico Beach Conservation Area.
  • train volunteers who provide a free guiding and interpretation service throughout the breeding season, with the emphasis on education rather than entertainment.

Seasonal guided viewing The best season for viewing penguins is the breeding season which usually lasts from September to March. At the Viewing Platform visitors can watch at close quarters up to twenty penguins coming ashore, breeding and feeding their young.

Although adult penguins can often be seen at night in the ‘off-season’, the weather can be very unpleasant, nor are chicks present, so viewing is not recommended. During the summer holidays, our volunteer guides are often supported by a “Summer Ranger” from PWS.

The viewing platform has a carpark which is limited to about 30 vehicles. During evening viewing, cars and small campervans will need to reverse park on an angle on the left side of the carpark.. This is to prevent headlights disturbing the penguins and for visitors’ safety. Spaces on the right side of the carpark are intended for long vehicles such as buses and motor-homes.

The viewing platform is sited at the eastern end of Lillico Beach, adjacent to the Bass Highway, and on the western side of Don Hill. Also it is about 3 km west of the Don River and 4 km east of the Forth River.

  • Note that the Bass Highway is dual carriageway and access is from the eastbound carriageway.
  • Note also that currently there is no signposting for this feature.

If arriving from the east, you’ll need to make a U-turn either at an opening in the median strip about 0.3 km west of the viewing platform or at the junction with Lillico Road about 1 km further west. If leaving for the west, make a U-turn at the junction with Waverley Road which is about 0.5 km to the east.

  • There are no toilets so go before you arrive! There are also no refreshments available. Devonport is the nearest town. 
  • A good time to arrive is around sunset because the birds begin to appear around dusk (i.e. when colours disappear and everything looks grey). If unsure, consult a local newspaper for sunset times.
  • Wear adequate clothing, especially for children, as it is often chilly and windy. Clothing should preferably be dark so as to be less noticeable to the penguins. Children’s shoes that light up are not a good idea.
  • Bring your binoculars.
  • A box for donations is provided. Although viewing is free, donations are always welcome and all funds are spent on the conservation area.

  • Access to the beach between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. is prohibited.
  • Penguins are wild animals, not fluffy pets! They can scratch and peck if approached too closely! Therefore, be quiet, move slowly and avoid touching them.
  • Flash photography, mobile phones, torches, smoking and pets are all prohibited. Our guides have torches with red filters.
  • Your cooperation in not littering will be much appreciated.

For more information Contact: Parks and Wildlife Service, Short Street, Ulverstone. 6429 8719

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Shorebird Count 2010

Friends of Lillico Penguin came out for the annual Shorebird Count. Was a nice brisk day, and walking 2.5 kilometers on the rolling stones was a god exercise. We were rewarded with the view of the new steps to the penguin platform at the end. That was a hazard for many years and is now better than expected! Hope it lasts.

Seen here are John, Shirley, Peter, and Ree.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Donations Welcome

We are printing a new sign for the front entrance of the platform. This is what is currently looks like. If anyone has any better suggestions please let us know ASAP!

 Walter and Pat---
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Keeping Statistics

If you volunteer on the platform and like to enter your night's sightings electronically you can do that using the online from [here]. If you look in the right column you will also see a link there.

The advantage is that it doesn't require anyone to enter the data into spreadsheets seperately and so no extra errors are created.

It is still advisable to fill in the log at the platform so that the guides in the following week have an indication of how many penguins and visitors to expect and when.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

AGM 2010

Beach and platform inspection by the experts over winter!

The FOLP executive met tonight for their AGM! The happy crowd gathered and discussed the various issues. Of main interest to most of us were the following;

We are starting the 2010/11 roster next week! We need volunteers, so please email or call Pat direct on 6428-2062. Remember that there are some benefits to being a regular volunteer, such as reduced rates for the National Parks membership.

Sonya has compiled a wonderful information booklet on the Fairy/Little/Blue Penguins which FOLP is financing her to print off and put in a folder for all volunteers to help educate them.

Walter and Pat have finalised and ordered 1000 postcards to help volunteers reach other volunteers and to point to this website.

Walter has completed the statistics from 2003 to last penguin-guiding season, and if anyone needs any information regarding number of tourists, sighted penguins etc, please contact He has also completed this website and set up some email aliases (emails that plainly come direct to your inbox). Contact Walter if you want one too.

July's working bee was a success but more weed control needs to be done, as work on the beach access steps.

Penguin Data

Every time we volunteer we fill in a small form to record how many tourists/guides and penguins we saw plus some other information. Unfortunately not everybody thinks that data is that important to collect and unfortunately not everyone fills it in. We are trying to make the forms as easy as possible and encourage all volunteers to clearly record the night's statistics. If you are interested in some of these statistics email

Friday, June 18, 2010

Postcard idea

We enthusiastically started a little postcard project for us for us to hand out on the platform next year - when we identify locals bringing visitors, or anyone we like to encourage to volunteer.

We need to think about finetuning the text on the card and the ‘website’ ( goes with it. I whipped up quickly. A blogspot like that could be useful. It doesn’t advertise tourist facilities, only our work.

To make life easier we can call it for about $25 p.a. That would look nicer on the card.



Front of proposed postcard:

Back of proposed postcard:

The cost of the postcards would be about $200 per 1000, or $150 for 500... The more the cheaper obviously.

FOLP Meeting!

We just had a meeting for our group and made lots of good decisions. One of them was to create postcards to attract new volunteers!

Especially of interest was to find ways to get younger volunteers in the 18-35 age-group, although we would love to hear from anyone under 110!

This spot will bring you FOLP (Friends of Lillico Penguins) updates such as

  • WORKING BEE on Saturday 17 July 
  • AGM (Annual General Meeting) on Tuesday 24 August 7pm 
Always interested in more members! Send us an email