Stewart Island Wrap Up

Well my Stewart Island trip seems like so long ago now so it's about time I wrap up these post about it. For the 4th day of my trip I had booked a Pelagic birding tour in the morning to see some Albatross and other sea birds which Stewart Island is great for, and I was also hoping to see some Penguins. The Pelagic tour was simply fantastic, the guide was so knowledgeable and really passionate about the birds, and although it was the wrong of time of year to see Penguins he went out of his way to try and find some for me. We only saw one penguin, who was a sad looking yellow-eye penguin, the rarest species of penguin in the world, the poor thing was really late to moult and wasn't looking too healthy, it was on a small Island surrounded by Seals, which looked like they were having the time of their lives sunning themselves on the rocks. yellow eye penguin seals seal waving

The stars of the show were the Albatross, the most common ones are known as 'Mollymawks' and I also saw some Bullers Albatross, which look less 'robot' like and have greyer faces. I know embarrassingly little about our seabirds and can't tell many of Albatross apart, something that I'm hoping to remedy. Learning out their behaviours and how they survive living on the sea gave me a whole new appreciation for these seabirds and I really want to learn more about them and see more of them! albatross 1 albatross and fish albatross

This little guy is a Cape Petrel, the tour guide was quite excited to see him, and for someone that sees sea birds all day every day that is an indication of how lucky I was to see this one. He didn't seem too bothered about finding food but rather avoiding getting run over by an Albatross.

cape pigeonThese dark brown birds are Sooty Shearwaters, or Muttonbirds. They are pretty common but I didn't see many on this day, I loved watching them disappearing under the waves then popping up in a different spot.

sooty diving sooty 2 diving sooty

One of new my favourite birds are Terns, I'm still trying to identify exactly which ones I saw as they are lots of different kinds. Some had forked tails and others had lush feathery tails, I enjoyed watching and photographing all of them, it was a good challenge trying to get sharp photos of them in flight.

flying tern 2 flying tern 3After the bird trip I had the afternoon to spare. so decided to go back to Ulva Island, it was where I saw the most birds a couple of days earlier and I'm so glad I decided to go back. Here's an afternoon's worth of bird watching condensed down to a few photos per bird, starting with the yellowest birds we have.

yellowhead 2 yellowhead eating wasp 2 yellowhead eating worm yellowhead on branch yellowhead on branches yellowhead on ground 2 yellowhead on ground 3 yellowhead on ground yellowhead on punga yellowhead

A young female Tomtit was feeding on the beach, I loved watching her fluttering around on the sand. tomtit on beach 2

ulva landscapeJust some of the beautiful scenery, and the 2 images below are young Saddleback birds, love that stunning chocolate brown.

saddleback with cobweb young saddleback on ground

The South Island Robins were super friendly as always so of course I took lots of photos of them.robin close up 2 robin on andres foot robin on path robin

The Kakariki were behaving quite odd, they perch up in trees and with their beak strip all the berries off and let them fall to the ground, then feed on the fallen berries on the ground floor. Seems an odd way to do things, but it seems to work for them

kakariki in vines

kereru at ulva

A Kereru bathing in the sun.

rifleman 2 rifleman 3 rifleman

These three little birds are our smallest native bird, the Rifleman, I was pretty excited to see more of them this time around.

brown creeper 1 brown creeper 2 brown creeper

I was a little bit disappointed that I didn't get better photos of these Brown Creepers, they are the most common bird on Ulva Island, but very rare on the mainland of New Zealand. These birds hover up on the forest canopy so are pretty hard to get near so it wasn't easy trying to get photos of them.

It's bittersweet wrapping up my holiday and really getting back to reality but I have some exciting things happening, I'm going to be growing the products I sell and really getting down to business working on some new drawings and art to make prints of. All in all, my trip was really inspirational and I have a mountain of photos to keep the memories fresh. Stay tuned to see how all this inspiration translates to paper!

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