Google Map Link
Stewart Island. January 2-3, 2017
|The beach at Stewart Island|
We spent a couple days on Stewart Island, well at least we slept there. We spent an afternoon and morning on Ulva Island, a small island off Stewart Island reachable by water taxis. Ulva Island’s attraction is native New Zealand land birds and it didn't disappoint. New Zealand's land bird are in trouble due to introduced predators-- stoats, cats, rats, and dogs. Ulva Island has been cleared of these predators and it is possible to see saddlebags, robins, tomtits, bellbirds, yellowheads and riflebirds. We ticked all the land bird natives on the island and had lovely views of them.
|Hotel at the tiny town of Ovan, Stewart Island|
|Cruising to Kiwi location|
We also did a night trip and tried for kiwi on a remote part of Stewart Island. We didn't see them. So disappointed. Our kiwi guide worked so hard, but the conditions were awful with very high wind. Got back at 2 am.
|Introduced Eurasian Blackbird|
|Birding around Town. Kiwi Xing.|
In the afternoon we did a walk about town, Ovan on Stewart Island, and turned up a couple more introduced species. New Zealand is full of birds brought in from other counties, mainly Britain, and in places with predators that is about all you will see.
We had another chance to try for kiwis this evening. This time it was magical. It started with two kiwis when we very barely off the boat. One jumped down onto the trail and foraged right in front of us. Then another one popped out of the bush, again feeding at our feet. Later we heard another two, this time a male and female calling back and forth to each other. The males and females have different calls, so it is easy to tell them apart. Later we saw a third bird, feeding less than two feet away. This bird was so close we could hear it snort sand out of its nose. They do this to clear their nostrils as they use their highly developed sense of smell to find food. Magical, and totally worth another night of minimal sleep. White lights and flash photography are strictly prohibited, so no photos.
|A dozing Southern Boobook (or Morepork)|
|New Zealand Fantail|
|New Zealand (South Island) Robin|
|Pipipi (Brown Creeper)|
|Weka can be really tame|
|Weka can be really, really tame|
|Beech at Ulva Island|