Monday, February 16, 2009

Stewart Island Bird Life

Stewart Island is New Zealand's third largest island. An hour ferry ride from Bluff, which is New Zealand's most southern city, Stewart Island is 85% National Park. This makes it an oasis for trampers and birdwatchers. After three flights and ferry ride we arrived on Stewart Island with our friends Chris and Becky who came all the way from Phoenix to join us on our adventure. Enthusiastic birders and naturalists, they are wonderful to explore nature and hike with. Stewart Island is known for it's bird life. Within minutes of arriving we were surrounded by Kakas, a type of parrot only found in New Zealand. Everyday around early evening the Kakas would come for visit to eat crackers and entertain. At one point we had about ten or eleven Kakas vying for our attention. We even had a few that would arrive early in the morning cooing outside our window. Stewart Island is also known for it's healthy Kiwi population which is said to be about 20,000. With that said, they are still quite hard to spot . Mark and I were lucky enough to see one digging for it's dinner but it was gone in a flash into the tall grass. Other birds we spotted included the Mollymauk , the Kakarikki, a smaller and very colorful parrot and also many Wekas which look very much like Kiwis but are not. These mischievous birds are not shy, in fact they have been known sneak up and peck at your ankles and zip your lunch right out of your backpack.

A gorgeous Kakarikki
Chris the Parrothead
I kept my distance and played photographer much of the time, it was a bit Alfred Hitchcock at times
Becky gets some parrot love
Check out this video of Mark!

Wekas in action The grand Mollymauk
Oyster Catchers and babies!

No comments: