4 Dec 2010

Ulva island – 3rd

I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at Jo and Andy. I then headed to Golden Bay via the Fuchsia and Raroa tracks with good margin for birding. I saw the usual birds such as Kaka, Tui, Red-crowned Parakeet, Bellbird and a few Tom tits. I reached Golden Bay just before 9am and people were already boarding the regular watertaxi. I and the Canadian birder, Dave Tannahill, had to wait ten minutes for the next ride to Ulva island. Ulva island is an open sanctuary. The majority of the island (around 260 ha) is part of Rakiura National Park.

I and Dave birded through the islands track all day long (7 hours). We had a good time together and lot of great sightings of all bird species as we birded along very slowly. We recorded at least ten South Island Saddlebacks, of which to were immatures and five were non-ringed birds. Brown creeper were quite common, which goes for Tui, Kaka and Bellbird too. We only saw three Yellowheads and we had to wait long until we noted the first one, which were  close-up one on the ground! Only a few Grey Warblers were seen and heard. Tomtits were seen now and then. In all I think we saw about 20 Stewart Island Robin, all of them were colour-ringed. A very nice bird species and they are totally unafraid and just show up or disappear without a sound. Like the Siberian Jay in Scandinavia. Dave and I just had lovely day on Ulva island.

Back in Oban I had a Fish n´chips at the harbour and then picked up my scope and headed to Ackers Point, which I think is a good spot for seawatching. And Yes, I had two hours of good seawatching at the lookout point. At least 40 White-capped Albatrosses passed by and I was able to photograph several of them! About 600 Sooty Shearwaters, of which 200 were seen in one dense flock. A single Cape Petrel and Giant Petrel were also recorded as well as a total of 30 Blue Penguins. I ended the day birding at 9pm and arranged with a fisherman to join him on a boat trip tomorrow, which I highly look forward too.

View from the landing-stage at Golden Bay while waiting for the watertaxi to Ulva island.
A lovely Stewart Island Robin along the track.
One of the beautiful South Island Saddlebacks. Usually on the ground in shady areas.
A curious Kaka along the track.
The beach at Sydney Cove on Ulva island.
A Stewart Island Weka on the beach.
Boulder Beach on Ulva island.
Dave Tannahill from Canada. He has been travel for three months in Chile, Peru, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and finally in NZ, before he fly home on Monday.
View from the lookout at Ackers Point.
A couple of White-fronted Terns.
White-capped Albatross seen from shore! Several were seen almost in the harbour of the Halfmoon Bay!
White-capped Albatross seen from Ackers Point.

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