Day 248 on the Road
Picton Wildlife Cruise!
Today we are checking out the bird sanctuary on Motuara Island in Picton! If you like this video and want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities, then check out our awesome YouTube Channel and Subscribe!
So today we are going to visit one of the most pristine bird sanctuaries in the Marlborough Sounds.
This morning we are waking up to the song of the cicadas which are all over Marlborough at the moment and today we have an awesome wildlife activity we are boarding the Beachcomber Cruise to Motuara Island bird sanctuary.
It’s a glorious sunny day as we head on this boat cruise with Beachcomber Cruises and it’s not long before we get our first unexpected wildlife encounter.
The boat is surrounded by a huge pod of bottlenose dolphins they have been hanging out in the Marlborough Sounds since a few days if you remember yesterday on our Lochmara video we actually saw the same pod on the water. Our skipper is slowing down to give us plenty of time to admire those amazing sea creatures and they are really not scared of the boat. because they are one of the biggest species of dolphin in the world they are not really threatened by such a big boat as ours and they come really up close which is really awesome and a great way to start our adventure.
Ahhh oh my God it tickles so much.
Oh my God I can’t believe this cicada hitched a ride with me onto the boat but this cicada is about the same size as a small mouse so as you can imagine rodents can actually jump into your bag and it’s worth checking before entering a pest free island like this one.
Laura is taking some pictures behind me so we just arrived on Motuara Island and turns out that the weather has changed quite dramatically since we’ve been on the track,
Yep, what started off as a sunny day in Picton has now turned into a little bit of a chilly one so it’s always best to be prepared when you’re out and about in New Zealand.
Speaking of out and about, we’re barely on the track 10 minutes and we have found a very interesting location on Motuara Island there’s a little watering hole surrounded by some seating areas which indicates this is a good place to hang out for a while and sure enough, it really is as we see heaps and heaps of native birds.
As soon as the robin exits it’s to make way for a much bigger bird which is the South Island saddleback it’s a really cool bird and this one is a juvenile because it doesn’t have its saddle yet. the adults actually have some red feathers on their back looking a little bit like a saddle giving it its name.
The saddleback is actually a pretty rare bird on the South island of New Zealand and the North Island saddleback is even rarer but the Robins are back and I’m not just talking about myself Motuara Island is world famous for a tonne of South Island robins it’s really cool to see them up-close at this watering hole. One of the really awesome stuff that we can see in this watering hole is to see them doing their morning routine they’re basically using it as a bathroom they need to keep their plumage very well maintained because their feathers are waterproof and that’s what keeps them dry in such a rainy country like New Zealand.
Meanwhile in the tree canopy we can see what I think is a female bellbird which are famous for their beautiful songs.
With all this amazing bird life going on around us we really don’t care that we’re missing out on the fact that there’s a walk up to the summit on this island where you can actually get some of the best views of the Marlborough Sounds. But for us, we are complete bird nerds and we are having way too much fun watching all the birds around this watering hole.
It’s cuteness overload as we’re watching these little South island robins washing themselves but what’s also really cool about these birds is just how close they get to us without really being scared of us or maybe because a robin knows when it sees another Robin.
So here we have Robin meet robin.
New Zealand birds have evolved completely isolated from the rest of the world meaning that they haven’t had the same threats as other birds like land mammals that are likely to hunt them down so that’s why they are really not scared to come this close to us and hop onto our shoes!
So on top of the robins and the saddlebacks that we’ve already shown you we actually see a lot more birds that we didn’t get a chance to film for instance we see bellbirds, grey warblers, we see wood pigeons and a type of parrot called a parakeet or a kakariki and we also see a lot of fantails.
Although we didn’t make it all the way to the summit of Motuara Island to see those views we feel that this is an hour well spent watching those amazing birds but our boat is due to come any moment so we head back down to the jetty and head onto our next destination.
While Laura is proudly showing me all her pictures we are now heading toward Ship Cove which is really famous in New Zealand for both the English and the Maori. For the English, it was one of the favourite base for Captain Cook during his three voyage around New Zealand and for the Maori it was actually one of the places that Kupe, which was one of the earliest Maori explorers visited. It’s an absolutely amazing historical place for New Zealand.
There are monuments representing both the Maori and the English heritage and there is also some awesome benches shaped like waka which are the Maori war canoes but obviously the thing that interests us the most is the wildlife and we are quickly greeted by a lovely little weka. Which is not a kiwi bird, it’s the tourists kiwi bird just because it really looks like a Kiwi bird but it’s not really one.
And this wraps up our last day exploring the beautiful Marlborough Sounds we have one more day in Picton tomorrow. We don’t have a plan just yet then we’re back on the North Island.
And here we have the wild Robin in the watering hole. This is his ass. Wild bum. Native to France. Travelled long way to get here. He’s come out early this season.