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

What My Camera Sees

I carry my camera with me when I’m guiding on Ulva Island, and many of the photos I take end up on the DVD we give our guests, either on the video itself, or in the large library of photos that is included.  Quite apart from the DVD the photos occasionally reveal interesting insights into behavior I might otherwise miss. For example Stewart Island Robins are well known as “Opportunistic” Feeders, perhaps learnt following Moa for the insects their big feet disturbed, centuries  ago. I had wondered if they might also follow Kiwi, and video I took late last year revealed a Robin closely following a foraging Female. The video attached will show this.


Video shot on Ulva Island 16/12/2016  

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The robin will be seen at the 59 seconds mark, 1min 12 seconds, 1.34, & 2.40 seconds, and is quite focused on the kiwi

Red Crowned Parakeet

Yellow Crowned Parakeet


Orange ???? Capped  Parakeet


Orange ???? Capped Parakeet

Camera Mode

I’m not the best photographer in the world and I have learnt to keep the camera on “burst” mode, as hopefully one of a sequence will be worth while … thank goodness for digital cameras, as the cost in film stock would be astronomical !!

But quite apart from the cost, the information I can glean from a long sequence often fills in details of the birds behavior I would probably miss otherwise.

But what really got my attention today when I went through yesterdays shots was a parakeet we watched feeding on Lancewood berries. I had thought just to capture a feeding sequence, but instead what I found when I was going through them was a crown colour that astonished me.

Red Crowned Parakeet are by far the most common on Ulva Island, with perhaps 30 to one in comparison to the smaller Yellow Crowned birds. The bird I photographed I had thought was a Red Crown as it seemed about the right size. So imagine my surprise when  i saw the shots with its head towards me.  

Is it Orange ???

It certainly looks orange to me, but  an Orange Fronted Parakeet has NEVER been recorded on Ulva Island…. They are very rare …..  A quick check online showed me that the Orange Fronted Parakeet has an orange band between the eyes across the bridge of the beak, and the cap above a light yellow

It’s most probably is a red/yellow hybrid, as I understand they can cross breed. But for sure it is the first one I have ever seen. Certainly the red bridge above the beak is about right for a Red and a Yellow Crowned, it’s just the orange cap above that is so different.