Ulva Island

Our travel guide Furhana was a lot friendlier than when we had met her initially. She is no-nonsense and we like that a lot. Do without much ado we were whisked away in her van, together with two other Dutchies, a German girl and two Kiwi’s and driven to the other harbour. There we were picked up by an apple green taxi boat and  on our way to Ulva island.

What is Ulva Island? Well it is a publicly open bird sanctuary. Usually bird sanctuaries are not open to the public due to the danger of people introducing predators. Ulva Island is an exception to that rule. Ulva Island was until recently ratfree, but the nasty predators have been increasing again so an eradication program has started again. Of course it means that there are many birds on Ulva Island some of them quite endangered. It is also an important research area for students of Otago university. They have been carrying out a lot of counting birds research,but also a lot of ethology studies on bird interaction an behaviour.  Other than that we drew a complete blank on Ulva Island and what to expect. We did know though that we’d see a lot more birds with a guide than without.

On our way to the island we already came across a fair few birds. Mainly Albatrosses and Shags (or coromant) but no penguins. Once on the island we found a nice spot to start the guided tour. We were joined by a cheeky little Stewart Island Robin He sat next to Furhana at her feet and listened intently to everything she said. Somewhere in our minds the idea formed that the bird in Disney like fashion would shake its head open its wings and would start telling the story from a bird perspective.  Unfortunately the magic did not reach that point, but it was a fun scene to watch.

Our journey would take 4 hours and was only 5km. Now that seems a bit at odds but really considering the amount of information and the overwhelming number of new things you get to see this is in fact a short time. Furhana is always on the look out for more birds and information. She tells about the birds, their behaviour, their song and history. She tells you about the trees and how to recognise the really old indigenous ones. About the   angiosperm and podocarp and their differences, about ferns and their different ways fo plant growth. Even moss and algae feature. She also explains the rather interesting growth pattern of the lancewood tree

For the birdwatchers amongst us we have made a list of birds we did see

The most feisty and cheeky birds were the Robins of course. The think it is great fun to watch people and where ever you go they are present. The sit in front of your feet, or on a small branch looking over your shoulder. And really one has to wonder, who is observing whom? Next most cheeky are the Weka. The basically walk around and really take very very little notice of the people around them. Simply not interesting. When at Boulderbeach we saw two Weka just rummaging around a third one heard something and came running pastus toward his mates (see picture) thinking there was food. He wanted some too, sod the humans.

Furhana was very proud that she managed to show us the Saddleback and Yellowhead. From the yellowhead we saw a whole flock (small flock) and given that those are greatly endangered that was something rare.  We loved our trip to Ulva Island. We learned so much about the NZ flora and Fauna. I dare to say I learned more in those 4 hours than I did in the 10 years I lived there. Oh I do know a fair bit but this was soo much and so new I loved it. Of course we were tired after such a full on day. We had something to eat and went to bed. We were asleep by 20.15

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About Gilraen

My blog is simply about my life. I moved countries for the first time in 1993. I lived in the Netherlands, UK and NZ. The initial idea was to keep my overseas friends up-to-date with what was going on in my life. The blog, like me, is always changing and evolving.
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