+64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz

Ulva Island Winter Tour

This time of year is usually quiet for us, with most of the Islands visitors coming over the spring/summer/autumn seasons. Although I do go and explore Ulva Island to explore the winter difference it’s really nice to share it with our few visitors. Our last two trips have not been wonderful for bird sightings, and although it was noticeably quiet we did actually see most of what they wanted to view. Apart from when our birds have families winter is definitely the time for hard work finding food. Shorter daylight hours limits time available, and of course the lower temperatures means a higher energy consumption, just to keep warm.

Colourful Fungi

But if our birds are a little reticent, our autumn and winter fungi do add to the colour and interest on our forest floor. This year has not been as good as an amazing autumn we had several years ago, but it has been interesting.

Hookers Sealions, Sails Stewart Island Tours

Boulder Beach

Most visits to Ulva Island include a visit to Boulder Beach on the south side, and last time there we found a couple of Hookers Sealions, both females. Normally we see males, so nice to see a couple of “The Girls” Perhaps a sign of good things to come, as we understand there is now a quite strong breeding colony at Port Pegasus, with 40 + pups born last summer. Back when we were chartering down there we seldom saw females.

Shore Gentians

Also on Boulder Beach is a small clump of Shore Gentians Gerntiana saxosa.    These small fleshy leaved plants flower in late summer and autumn, and are a delight to find. There is only a single clump up on a large rock on Boulder Beach, although more further out on the eastern headland. This is the latest I’ve ever seen them flowering, and probably like so many other flowering plants reacting to our very odd climate patterns over the last several years.

Gentian saxosa, Sails Ulva Island Tours