Stewart Island Part 2

Day 2 of my trip to Stewart Island was the day I was most excited about, Ulva Island day! If you haven't heard of Ulva Island it is a small completely predator free island and is a haven for a lot of rare bird species. I couldn't wait to see such birds as Yellowhead, Saddlebacks, and the Stewart Island Tomtits and Robins. I had booked a water taxi for really early in the morning, to make the most of the day, but the birds were still sleeping. It gave me time to take in the views and even spotted some kiwi tracks on the beach!

1 kiwi tracks

Fresh Kiwi tracks in the sand! 1 ulva early morning

Ulva Island Wharf, where the ferries drop off and pick up visitors to the Island.1 yellowheads 2 yellowheads

Yellowhead or Mohua, some of the birds I never thought I would see in real life and feel really lucky to see so many of them. 3 jackbird closeup 3 4 jackbird closeup 5 jackbird closeup 6 jackbird closeup 6 saddleback family 7 saddlebackThese are several photos of Saddlebacks, I had no idea about this but young South Island or Stewart Island Saddlebacks are entirely brown for the first year of their lives. They are known as 'Jackbirds' and are pretty entertaining. The parents strip bark off the trees and the young ones wait at the foot of the tree, waiting for grubs and insects. The 'Jackbirds' sprint along the ground and up the trees, they seem to have a lot of energy to burn.

8 rifleman 8a rifleman

These 2 birds are our tiniest forest bird, Rifleman. You can hear them before seeing them, they have a small high pitched 'shrill' type sound that seems to echo so they're really hard to spot, and even harder to photograph. These photos are zoomed in a lot!

9 robin

The Stewart Island Robin maybe be even friendlier than the North Island Robin that I'm so used to meeting. They hop up on visitors feet and even had a nibble in-between my toes! They are darker than their North Island relatives and the males and females seem to be more easily distinguishable.

10 weka family

Weka are quite common on Ulva Island, this is a family feasting on the beach. Weka are very cheeky and friendly and from a distance can be mistaken for a Kiwi. 11 ulva island

A view of one of the walking tracks through the beautiful native bush. It was a joy to be amongst such stunning scenery.

12 bad kiwi photo

Much to my delight I came across a Kiwi in broad daylight! The Stewart Island Kiwi are not nocturnal like the mainland Kiwi so are often spotted out in the daytime feeding on worms and grub. I didn't want to disturb this one so kept my distance, which meant that I didn't get a decent photo. Atleast I got a blurry photo for evidence, and it was pretty special to see one up close in the daytime.3 beach trees2 ulva beach

Well those are my best photos from day 2 of my Stewart Island trip, there are plenty more to come as I will be trawling through the rest of my photos. For now it's back to real life and I'll be using memories and photographs from my trips as inspiration to make some more bird-inspired art and patterns.