Welcome to Stewart Island & Sails Ashore +64 3 219 1151 tait@sailsashore.co.nz

Learning on the Job

My tours on Ulva often become a learning experience for my guests as I try to explain just what it is that is happening on the Island in the wider New Zealand context. And for me I’m always learning on the job, as I observe the behavior of the flora and fauna.  But as much as showing folks what I’ve observed and the changes I’ve seen over the almost 50 years I’ve been involved with Ulva, so too very often I’m watching the behavior of birds and being surprised by what I see.

One of the most important tools I have is my camera, as I tend to photograph birds in “burst” mode, and then later I’ll carefully go through the many pics that result. Some of course are pretty obvious, such as  Saddleback taking Coprosma fruit …. they primarily are insect feeders. But on a few memorable occasions I’ve been able to record them taking nectar, and once “sipping” honey dew. And I’ve been astonished to watch Brown Creepers feeding fruit to their fledglings. I thought they were exclusively insectivorous.

In the kiwi video in the  “Is It Summer post I noticed a Robin following the kiwi around. I had wondered if they might do this, but nice to have confirmation.

Saddleback dipping nectar from an introduced fuchsia


Saddleback searching for bugs in a rotting branch


Feeding on astelia berries


Harvesting Honey Dew from Dracophyllum longifolium