Thursday, 17 July 2014

Stay on Skokholm

"Stay on Skokholm" is not a description, but an imperative. You have to stay on Skokholm because, unlike Skomer, there are no day trips. The fishing boat leaves you on Monday morning and you're there until Friday. Or vice versa, for a weekend stay. Unless the weather prevents landing, in which case you wait....

We were fortunate to get a late cancellation with less than a week's notice so we rearranged work commitments and drove west to the far tip of Pembrokeshire for the 8.30am crossing. About 15 visitors can stay in the newly-updated accommodation which was comfortable in the dry, warm weather, and getting to know strangers who have similar interests was one of the delights of the stay.

The island is only about 1 mile long by half a mile wide and is owned by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, and administered by the Friends.  A well-stocked library and a ringing shed completes the observatory which has recently received accreditation again after a break of over three decades, and is staffed by two wardens and three volunteer assistants, who were charming, knowledgeable and good company.
Richard and Giselle write a good blog, and are assisted by temporary volunteers Will (storm petrel expert), Dean (marine biologist) and Bill (pan lister and expert in everything else). The photo below shows Bill and Dean calling into storm petrel burrows and listening for replies, presumably under the delegation of Will.
 Skokholm is famous for its large populations of Manx shearwaters, storm petrels and lesser black backed gulls, of which more later.......

and puffins of course.

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