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Bird watching on Ulva Island


WELL good morning friends. I'm at the very beautiful Golden Bay this morning. It is a very calm morning and sunny. I'll shortly be taking a boat across to Ulva Island over there to do some bird watching. I've got the cameras ready, got the big one. It's going to be a beautiful day for it, so I'll be spending most of the day on the island there. It is a short walk but I'll be spending as much of the day as possible bird watching because it is a protected reserve.

Well I've arrived here at Post Office Cove, apparently the site of Stewart Island's first post office. From here I'm going to explore the island. The main camera I'll be using today is this one. I'll be using my fairly new Sigma 150-600mm telephoto lens. I know a few of you have been specifically asking about this lens.

These are all short walks, but I'll be spending pretty much all day out here.

I've now reached Boulder Beach. There's a couple of wekas here foraging the beach. What I've found so far is this lens is very good for places like out here... hello...

The birds here are very friendly. It's quite challenging using this in the bush because the vegetation is incredibly thick. It kind of explains why the birds in New Zealand are either evolved to be completely flightless or they are really small. Because the bush is really dense - it makes focusing with this lens quite difficult. Out here I'm getting some really good shots. Earlier coming across (on the boat) I got some penguins as well. So I find this lens very good out in the open, not so much in the bush. When I am in the bush, some of the birds come really close and this lens can only focus beyond about two metres so I'm using this camera (with the 24-105mm lens) quite a lot, a lot more than expected in the bush.

I have a theory. If you're going to judge how fast someone is going to go when they are hiking, look at the size of their camera. I've got all this gear today and I'm progressing about 300 to 400 metres an hour. If you're one of these people who likes to hike really quickly, definitely don't take me especially when I'm carrying these massive cameras. I am getting quite a massive workout here. This is a good 4 or 5 kilos. I'll be holding this for a good 6 or 7 hours today.

The setup I'm using, I've got my full frame 6D with the big lens on it for long distance shooting. I'm getting some really good shots even up to 100 metres away with some reasonably clear focus. As you can see the bush here is really dense, so it's a matter of finding some holes in the forest. Then the old 70D here with the microphone, I'm using this for some of the video because this (the long lens) has such a long range that even the slightest movement will produce a very shaky video so I need to do that at wide angle and also for the wide and close shots because this one (150-600mm) doesn't focus any closer than two and a half metres. So for anything closer, I'm using this one (70D with 24-150mm lens).

Fortunately it has gone overcast now which is very good for photography. The contrast isn't so great for both wide angle and bird photography. Conditions are really ideal now.

That's a sea lion down there. I'm not quite sure what species it is but I'll look it up. It's having a rest on the beach.

I'm back at Post Office Cove now. At the wharf now waiting for the boat. That may even be it now (it was). This is our boarding pass (the leaf). It is very interesting. So it's a matter of waiting for the boat (to dock) and going on board.



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08 November 2019


Stewart Island

New Zealand



0-22m ASL


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