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Flightless Guests

Further from my last post about Port Pegasus with Flightless a couple of days ago Maria phone me and asked if I would guide their charter folks around Ulva, as Iris and I had done previously for them.  So they picked me up from Golden Bay, and after one of Courtney’s superb lunches with the party, it was back onto Ulva. 

It was an absolutely stunning day, glassy calm, and wall to wall blue sky, although later in the afternoon there was signs of a  front approaching from the west, but a day or so away.

Winter Birds and Orchids

Winter isn’t my favourite time for Ulva. No orchids in bloom of course, although I did find a couple of Corybas acuminatus or “Dancing Spider” orchids with the flower buds in the very early “embryo” stage of development. That seems a couple or maybe 3 months early. Although Iris does think her garden is showing “early” signs. And lots of Corybas oblongus leaves appearing.

Like the previous walk the birds were very quiet. We glimpsed a Saddleback, the odd pigeon and Kaka. A couple of Tui and parakeet. But on the drop down towards Boulder Beach on of the party spotted a Kiwi. Not a great view, as she was up a gully, lots of ferns and not good light. I think this may have been the first  “In the Wild” kiwi any of the party had seen, so major excitement, and really made up for the otherwise poor showing of our feathered friends.

Dancing Spider Orchid

Yellow Crowned Parakeet

Winter is a pretty lean time for birds who target nectar, as the first of the spring blooms …. Fuschia … is not yet out. So honey dew is the only native sugar available and several species target it.

Summer before last was an exceptional year for fruit, both the coprosmas and rimu masting heavier than than I can ever remember, and of course at the same time meant the fruit eating birds were swamped with food. The parakeets in particular seem to have really capitalised on this, and I’ve said to my guests that probably every egg hatched, fledged, and then with a very mild winter following the survival must have been very good. And so lots and lots of parakeets, all busy feeding. Parakeets are generally the shyest of our forest birds, but this last summer and autumn we’ve noticed they they are too busy feeding to take fright even when we get to a metre or so from them.

As we came out to the Ulva Wharf we found a Yellow Crowned Parakeet busy harvesting the HoneyDew on Dracophyllum longifolium. I have from time to time seen parakeets working this, but a Yellow Crowned, up close and personal was very keenly photographed by the group, and a first for me to video.


The End of a Great Winter Day on Ulva

Flightless anchored off Sydney Cove

Flightless in Sydney Cove