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ULVA ISLAND A VISITOR’S GUIDE

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contents Parts of a bird . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Location map. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Introduction & history. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Conservation etiquette. . . . . . . . . . . 14 Major threat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Arrival at Ulva Island. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Visitor information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Weather. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Clothing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Phone reception. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Transport. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Water taxi departures. . . . . . . . . . . Walking tracks. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Signage. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Warnings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Toilets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Visiting hours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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This little nugget at the northern end of West End beach hosts an array of wading and shore birds.


The Birds of Ulva Island . . . . . . . . . . 31 COASTAL BIRDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 FOREST BIRDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 ULVA ISLAND FOREST. . . . . . . . . . . 99 THE MAMMALS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 SEA BIRDS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157


Copyrighted Material EARLY HISTORY Small settlements of early Maori chose to settle near Ulva Island at areas such as The Neck and Native Island. Â Among the first early European settlers on Ulva were Charles and Jessie Traill who opened a small trading store and post office. Charles Traill was named postmaster without salary on 1 April 1872. Being central to the settlements and sawmills around Paterson Inlet, the early Stewart Island pioneers would be summoned to the post office by the raising of a flag.

A glimpse of the lush Ulva Island podocarp forest with varied understorey of tree ferns and broadleaf species.

Mail service was intermittent so when the mail arrived, it became a very popular social occasion. Charles Traill also contracted the building of a 20-ton cutter Ulva in 1877. It became the first regular postal

An historic photograph of the postmaster’s residence as it was when it was in use on Ulva Island.

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Copyrighted Material The golden sand of Post Office Bay looking towards the postmaster’s residence

and passenger service from the mainland. The post office (no longer standing) was just behind the Hunter family residence which faces out to the sea. You can see the postmaster’s residence with the sloping roof nearest to the beach when you arrive at the Ulva wharf. The first ink-written entry in the Ulva visitor book was written on 22 April 1916. Inscribed on the first page is “Ulva - the last, loneliest, loveliest, most exquisite...” Ulva Island was gazetted as a scenic reserve as early as 1899. An innovative sense of conservation led to the protection of this island. As one of the earliest areas in New Zealand to achieve this status, Ulva Island has preserved the unique flora and fauna environment that the visitor can still see today.

Leaves of the muttonbird scrub were used as a novelty postcard to send from the Ulva Island Post Office.

The postmaster’s residence remains true to its original character and is well maintained by present day owners, the Hunter family.

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conservation etiquette ULVA ISLAND

DO’S

DON’TS

Respect all living things; trees, plants & creatures

Never feed wild birds, although the resourceful weka will find ways to rid you of your snacks

Respect the private property sign at the entrance to the Hunter family home Keep to the pathways, there are delicate and precious plants in the undergrowth Wildlife has the right of way at all times When photographing, common sense tells you to move slowly and quietly There are no rubbish bins for good reason on this island sanctuary – take your rubbish with you Please use the toilet facilities provided Everything on Ulva Island is protected

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It is not a good idea to block the route of seabirds and wildlife coming ashore Do not expect birdlife to pose for you (except the robins, of course) Do not startle or chase wildlife from resting


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visitor information WEATHER You probably have been warned about the weather conditions on Stewart Island. It can change rapidly and often without notice, so be prepared with appropriate clothing.  Our prevailing wind is from the west and can change Paterson Inlet from mirror image to white capped waves very quickly.  On Ulva Island you are protected from winds by the forest canopy and will only notice the sea conditions when you are at one of the beaches or have returned to the wharf.

Paterson Inlet – The weather conditions on Stewart Island can change rapidly and often without notice, so be prepared with appropriate clothing...

CLOTHING There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Warm waterproof jackets, sturdy footwear, warm hat and gloves are basic requirements – our weather is constantly changing.  From warm still days to cold winds and horizontal rain, it’s always better to be prepared.

PHONE RECEPTION

need some sort of clothing picture here like this

Mobile phone areas are intermittently accessible on Ulva Island. West End Beach, Flagstaff Point and halfway down Sydney Cove Beach nearest to the sea, are the best areas for telephone reception.

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Endemic

NEW ZEALAND PIGEON

MAORI NAMES

KUKUPA KUKU KERERU SCIENTIFIC NAME

Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae ALSO KNOWN AS

Wood Pigeon Native Wood Pigeon

• Easily identified by the clean white breast and white apron straps

• Stunning plumage – metallic green-purple small head, throat; back and wings a more bronze-green lustre

• Red eyes, reddish-pink bill, white pantaloons down to the red feet

• Quite plump, becoming obese when the miro tree is fruiting • Whooshing wing beat accompanies their clumsy flying • Silent other than their warning call that sounds like ‘kuuu, kuuu’ in a questioning rise or fall 60 50 40 30 20 10 (cm)

Kukupa mate for life. If you see one on a branch, glance around; the partner will usually be within 10-20 metres. Their courtship displays are superb. Flying up high they stall – then fall in a deep swoop. Their nests are a haphazard plate of twigs and sticks, the latticework so open that you can sometimes see the white of the egg. Kukupa play an essential role in our forest – they are the only bird that has a gape big enough to swallow the miro fruit. Each winter the miro tree produces a regular crop of fleshy, bright red fruits, important for food over the winter. Without this bird the miro cannot, and does not, regenerate. In fact, wood pigeons are the great New Zealand dispenser of seeds. We would not have a Copyrighted Material native forest without them.


Copyrighted Material maori legend Tanemahuta (Maori god of the forest) asked all the birds to clean the forest floor. Most birds refused, including kukupa, and were punished accordingly. Kukupa’s excuse was that he would not do the cleaning because he was too busy collecting miro berries for his mother’s pie. His resulting punishment was to wear the apron of his mother for the rest of his life.

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Endemic

BELLBIRD

MAORI NAME

KORIMAKO SCIENTIFIC NAME

Anthornis melanura

• The bellbird male (pictured right) has a beautiful olivegreen coat, blue-black wing and notched tail

• Yellowish belly and flanks, parts of the head glossy purple in the sun, red eyes

• Female is a duller olive-brown green colour and smaller in size than the male

• The female also has a thin white line from the beak to the cheek (pictured above)

• Curved short beak • Best places to see and hear the bellbird is on the honeydew black-coated trees on the way to Flagstaff

• Juveniles have a yellow gape with chevron marks on the tail

20 10 (cm)

Females catch more invertebrates and play as big a part in the Island ecology as the pigeon. Males seem to hang around the sweet honeydew and are quite aggressive in defence of their food sources. Their evocative lyrical song should not to be confused with the tui which has more guttural and chonky sounds. It sometimes sounds as though bellbirds are learning how to sing when they copy each other’s tune. Interestingly, the Ulva Island bellbird sometimes copies a cat’s “miaow” at the end of its song.

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Ulva Island Forest

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SOUTHERN RATA SCIENTIFIC NAME

Metrosideros umbellata ALSO KNOWN AS

Ironwood Southern Christmas Tree

Above: The twists and turns of the rata’s knotted trunk. Left: Close up of the rata’s lovely vivid red flower Right: Southern rata buds – notice the pointed leaf tips as opposed to the northern pohutakawa relative which has rounded leaf tips Facing page: Adult tree

Southern rata is our hardest, most dense hard wood. Do not confuse the southern rata with its northern cousin (pohutakawa) which is an epiphyte sending its roots to the ground. Pointed tips on the leaves and green underside also indicate differences between the two. The trunks of southern rata have a very strong demonic-looking root system. This species of rata has stunning clusters of bright red flowers cover the forest canopy, starting from October onwards and sometimes flowering into February. The resulting nectar is food of choice for our birdlife, and the honey is said to be premium – one of the best in the world.

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A New Zealand fur seal

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mammals on ulva These extraordinary mammals are frequently seen on the shores and coastlines of Ulva Island. When first seen, you realise that they are much bigger than thought – quite magnificent creatures. It is wise to keep well clear of them when they are sunbathing – especially on Sydney Cove and Boulder Beach. One particularly large sea lion demolished a well-established DoC track sign at Boulder Beach. He had been gently sunbathing by the sign – then he just rolled over to scratch himself.

An elephant seal basking in the sun

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index of images BEACHES & BAYS Boulder Beach – 31, 158, 159 Paterson Inlet – 15 Post Office Bay – 11, 22-23 Sydney Cove – 2-3, 6-7, 12, 27 West End Beach – 4-5 BIRDS – COASTAL Gull, Black-backed – 52-53 Gull, Red-billed – 54-55 Heron, White-Fronted – 31 Oystercatcher, Variable – 25, 50-51 Penguin, Blue – 40-41 Penguin, Fiordland Crested – 36-37 Penguin, Yellow-eyed – 38-39 Shag, Pied – 9, 34, 42-45 Shag, Spotted – 48-49 Shag, Stewart Island – 46-47 Tern, Black-fronted – 33 Tern, White-fronted – 56-57 BIRDS – FOREST Bellbird – 90-93, 157 Creeper, Brown – 86-87 Fantail – 76-77 Kaka – 30, 64-65 Kingfisher, Sacred – 33 Kiwi – 32 Morepork – 72-73 Parakeet, Red-crowned – 66-67 Parakeet, Yellow-crowned – 68-71 Pigeon, New Zealand – 58, 62-63 Rifleman – 74-75 Robin, Stewart Island – 32, 82-83 Saddleback – 96-97, 159 Silvereye – 31 Tui – 7, 33, 94-95 Tomtit – 9, 78-81 Weka, Stewart Island – 60-61 Yellowhead – 84-85, 132 Warbler, Grey – 88-89

A koru fern slowly unfurls...

A juvenile bellbird surveys its surroundings...

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Ulva island visitors guide  

Ulva Island is located inside Paterson Inlet of Stewart Island. Ulva Island is universally renowned for the endemic, native birds and plants...