Sunday, July 29, 2018

Ulva Island

Ulva Island is a wee little island in Paterson Inlet at Stewart Island that's a pretty special place. It's predator-free after a huge effort by DOC, and they take substantial measures to keep it that way. Their efforts have made it an exquisite bird sanctuary, and it's one of the only places in NZ where you stand a chance of seeing a wild kiwi during the day.

Raki, our host Manfred's son, operates a ferry business between Stewart and Ulva Islands, and we've got a few hours to explore it before we head home. It's a short boat ride, it's cheap as, and Raki gives us our return ticket, written on a rangiora shrub leaf (there's a photo of the ticket on the ferry's website as of 29 Jul 2018). These leaves are famous for being used as postcards because they took ink well and didn't deteriorate, and have been sent worldwide even though NZPost wasn't really a fan of the practice. When he drops us off, we pick a return time and disappear into the dense canopy.

Oystercatchers scurry along

Faint light finds Murphy

Spoiler: we do not see any kiwis, although Raki tells us that some other passengers he had that day got lucky with a sighting (they're nocturnal, but the lack of predators on Ulva gives a chance for a daytime sighting). There's also a complete lack of services on Ulva at night, so that's a complicating factor.

However, we see a bunch of other cool bird life while we meander on the island's little network of tracks. Some of the tracks are, um, less accessible when the tide is in.

Good luck


South Island robin / toutouwai

Stewart Island Weka

Extra cheeky weka

Ulva Island port

Raki picks us up in his wee boat at our agreed-upon time, and before too long, we're back to SZS and airborne for IVC.

Short hop

'Til next time, Stewart Island.


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