Day 162 on the Road
The Best Place for Wildlife in New Zealand
Today we are visiting the pest-free bird sanctuary of Ulva Island on Stewart Island! If you liked this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities, jump on over to YouTube and consider joining our backpacker squad!
Today we are going to be exploring the bird sanctuary of Ulva Island.
It’s a full packed day today on Stewart Island so we are having a quick breakfast on the Ulva Island Ferry.
The trick is to go slow. The slower you go the more comfortable the birds will be and the more birds you’ll see. Some people tend to walk right past them so go slow keep your eyes peeled. We’re good at going slow. And stop. The robin in particular will come down straight to your feed because you are a food source.
Today is our last day on Stewart Island we are taking the ferry in the afternoon to get back to mainland but our activity of the day is to visit the stunning bird sanctuary of Ulva Island.
The island is home to thousands of birds and as soon as we start walking we see some ruffle in the bushes.
At first we are super excited that we might have seen a kiwi bird but no this is another flightless bird native to New Zealand called a weka. And they are making quite a rukus in the foliage of the forest floor. We even see a baby weka as well and one by one we see the mother weka and the daddy weka and we have this full family right at our feet searching for bugs and plants in the forest floor it’s amazing to see. The weka that we are seeing right now are a sub species of weka they are the Stewart Island weka and they are very well known to be quite used to human presence and they are coming really up close to us. Even with their baby. Usually, when we see any animals in the wild that have babies they are very very very cautious of humans as they are trying to protect their offspring.
Many populations of weka have been extinct on the mainland but they are thriving right here on Ulva Island which is a pest free island meaning that every human-introduced pest have been eradicated so they are left alone to scavenge for food, danger free.
We are finally deciding to leave this weka family having breakfast by themselves and we are moving on along the track which leads us to a beautiful secluded beach. This beach is called Sydney Cove and I find lovely swing where I’m gonna be playing while Laura is tyring to find us some more birds to look at.
Yes, even on the beach there are some birds to look at so right here I’ve found a couple of oyster catchers and the really cool thing about oyster catchers is that you always see them in pairs they’re so romantic.
We have seen oyster catchers on a few beaches in New Zealand before but they are a lot more abundant here so we spend some time taking some footage of them and then we try and find the rest of the track to go back into the forest. In the forest we hear a thousand different bird calls and right above us we see a bird that we’ve never seen before in the wild. It’s bright yellow and about the size of a sparrow and it’s called a yellowhead.
The really awesome thing about the forest here on Ulva Island is that it’s never been milled so it’s in its original state and along with that the birds can absolutely thrive here. We even see some more ruffling on the forest floor where we think we’ve spotted another family of weka.
This family consists of one parent scavenging for food and two very very fluffy babies relaxing and waiting to be fed. those are the teenagers that’s gonna be staying with their parents until at least being 30 years old I’m telling you that right now. It’s really cute to look at though because they are kind of petting each other while the mother is staying nearby keeping a watchful eye on its baby. It’s so awesome.
The track then takes us deeper into the Ulva Island forest and they are quite few tracks right here on Ulva Island there is actually three of them and all colour coded so it’s almost impossible to get lost.
While we’re walking we can’t help but be amazed by the amount of bird noise we can hear and it’s really hard to make up anything that we can hear but if you hear a bit of a laughing noise that means that you have found a parakeet. A parakeet is also called kakariki in Maori and that means small parrot and the one we find is a red crowned parakeet it is one of the very rarest birds in New Zealand and we have never seen one in the wild so seeing one right here before our eyes is absolutely awesome. So we take a few minutes to see it behave in the trees.
As we continue along the track we realise that we haven’t yet spotted a Stewart Island Robin which are notorious for being super inquisitive with tourists. So Robin, as in our Robin, is gonna do a little trick that we’ve learned on other tours around New Zealand to attract robins and sure enough we see one right behind us.
the trick is to stop walking upturn the soil with your feet and reveal the bugs for the robin to feed on.
This bird yet another sub species here on Stewart Island known as the Stewart Island Robin and they’re known for singing for up to 30 minutes to attract a mate but this robin gives us its very own song as we leave thanking us for the meal we’ve just given it.
Leaving behind this incredibly cute bird we are moving onto the last section of the track this is going to be taking us to the beach where we’re gonna be hopping back onto the ferry all the way to the mainland of New Zealand but we can’t help but watch more birds there is a kaka and a tui having a major feast on a massive puhutukawa tree right here on the beach this tree is covered with birds feeding on its nectar filled flowers.
It’s seriously hard to leave Ulva Island there is always something else to look at every single time you turn your head you see another bird you hear another bird call even the seagulls are trying to be interesting by carrying heaps of sticks. It’s crazy how every single animal here is trying to catch our attention. But it’s time for us to leave and ferry is arriving to pick us up. The trip back to mainland of Stewart Island is pretty short it’s only 5 minutes it’s a very quick ride and the tickets for the ferry are super quirky. But don’t fret guys there is a way to stay longer on Ulva* Island you can actually catch the ferry in the evening but because we do have to make our way to New Zealand mainland today we had to leave quite early.
And it’s with heavy heart that we are boarding the Real Journeys ferry back to the South Island. Alright so we are right in front of the ferry. We are leaving Stewart Island today. I don’t want to. They’re gonna have to force me onto that ferry.
So those two girls over there saw a beautiful kiwi bird on the same walk we did today can you show it? Can you show. You gonna claim this is your video.
Look how close it got. I am so jealous. Anyway once we get back to the South Island we are driving to the little township of Gore which is one the east coast of the South Island.
That is awful. It looks so bad with the fish eye. I love it.