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The Skomer Island Weblog – Information and Updates: Gargling guillemots & legless lizards… An LTV’s-eye view of Skomer!

Hello everybody! I’m Becca, one of many long-term volunteers (LTVs) on
the island this 12 months.

A short introduction about myself – after realising just a few
years in the past that I needed to pursue a profession in ecology, I studied a Masters in
Biodiversity & Conservation. Following a gradual first 12 months post-graduation
(the fun of residing by a world historic occasion, eh?), I’m thrilled to have
this chance to realize some sensible expertise within the discipline. Having
beforehand executed some analysis on gannets in Scotland, I’m notably wanting to
work with the massive vary of seabirds which can be discovered right here on Skomer!

The group has been very busy since our final weblog – this week
noticed us welcoming guests onto Skomer for the primary time since September 2019,
which has been very thrilling! We’re so happy to lastly have the ability to share the
island with the general public once more, and have been buzzing round getting the island’s
infrastructure prepared for his or her arrival. Between chicken surveys, barge deliveries
and clearing out a number of storage sheds, Samanta (my fellow LTV) and I’ve
been getting our DIY on, making fairly the picnic benches and putting in
signage alongside the paths in order that guests can take pleasure in their time on the island as
a lot as we’re having fun with ours!

With our love for the island in thoughts, I needed to
share with you my private favorite locations on Skomer (and in sport present
trend, these are in no explicit order)…

Garland Stone

A stroll to the Garland Stone is the very first thing we did on our
introductory tour of Skomer, and is all the time my first thought after I fancy a
pre/post-work stroll. When you’ve handed by the ocean of bluebells at the moment
protecting a lot of the island, you’re greeted by a spectacular view of the
Garland Stone and the ocean past it – with swallows and sand martins swirling
round your head, fulmar gliding over the rocks under, and gannets hovering
above the water within the distance, you actually get a really feel for the way wild but
peaceable Skomer Island will be. Gannets are additionally a sign that there would possibly
be cetaceans round, so it’s an important place to catch a glimpse of harbour porpoise
or widespread dolphins!

Nothing beats the Garland Stone on a sunny afternoon! 

Bull Gap

For my part, this is without doubt one of the greatest seabird spots on the
island. Residence to guillemots, razorbills, kittiwakes and extra, Bull Gap is an
intense expertise… the sight, sound, and (if the wind is in your favour) odor
of a giant seabird colony will be considerably overwhelming! Over this previous week
I’ve began work on monitoring a small plot for razorbill productiveness on the
cliff right here, and am all the time impressed by what number of birds have managed to cram
themselves into what seems to be like such a small house! Guillemots have what’s
in all probability the smallest breeding territory of any chicken, extending by solely a beak’s
size round its nest.

A photograph of guillemots closely bunched together against a dark cliff face
Prime actual property – solely a peck away

North Haven

Because the boat pulled into land on our preliminary arrival, I used to be
amazed at how a lot wildlife I may see earlier than I’d even set foot on the island,
and that amazement nonetheless stays! The powerful stroll up the touchdown steps is price
it for the possibility to get a close-up view of the seabirds that nest there, and
there are puffins in every single place you look – rafting on the water, bumbling about
their burrows, and flapping inches out of your head as they whoosh down the
hillside. However the largest private spotlight for me at North Haven is the
seals. Yow will discover them each morning laid out like sausages on the seashore, however
after they’re not being lazy, they’re being extraordinarily curious and wish to get a
good have a look at what you’re as much as (we had a sizeable viewers when clearing the
landslide in early April)!

A razorbill standing on a rock
A quite smart-looking razorbill posing by the touchdown steps

The Farm

In addition to being my dwelling while engaged on Skomer, the Farm has
confirmed itself to be a implausible place to identify wildlife. I’ve seen a number of
private firsts right here – gradual worms, ring ouzels and whimbrels, to call however just a few
– and have additionally witnessed some implausible chicken behaviours, all from the consolation
of a picnic bench with a biscuit in a single hand and my binoculars in one other! The
sight of two short-eared owls dramatically whirling round within the air above the
hostel is one I received’t be forgetting any time quickly.

A woman with a large smile on her face holding a very small slow worm
I used to be more than happy with my first gradual worm, even when it was a child one!

I may proceed this checklist perpetually (each a part of the island
is superb), however will finish it there for now!

Stay up for conserving you posted because the season progresses.

Becca, Lengthy-term Volunteer

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