With the time moving forward so fast and the people who come and go you almost think that there isn't enough of it to fully appreciate everyone and everything that surrounds you. But there certainly is a different way of looking at it and there most certainly is a more positive and encouraging way to live by than just worrying about how little time there is to enjoy ourselves, to save wildlife and how much we still have to do, especially on a remote island like Skomer. Many people who whether incidentally or not but have somehow been introduced to Skomer as the place of their endevours have been returning to the island for years even if only for a short day trip.
Skomer is the place where you can truly capture the essence of the lack of time due to the seasonal workload and a concious choice to enjoy it! Living and working on an island like this is a truly unique experience. It's almost tempting to say that only certain types of people would fully enjoy working and living here. It's more of a lifestyle than a set of rules (although there are some that we are very strict about here!) or a specific set-up that you follow. Can you give up on ice-creams for most of the year? Can you wake up at 4am to conduct a survey or stay up all night to carry out a study on manxies? Would you enjoy engaging with hundreds of visitors followed by long hours spent in the field counting seabirds from the boat and then rolling around on the ground checking hundreds of burrows? Would you enjoy a life where the energy and water supplies are limited but plenty for a comfortable remote living? Would you choose to work and live on an island to which access is very much weather dependent? We would and we love it!
Islanders have a mind of their own, special appreciation for this specific habitat and their life choices they make tend to be driven by the knowledge about the environment, global changes and effect humans have on wildlife.
You wake up every day; rain, wind or sun and you smile because you know that you are one of the people who get to live a life that very much isn't by the book and you feel inspired because you know that what you do is what you love, what changes and shapes you in many ways. You look outside the window to see Grey seals, thousands of seabirds, rough sea crashing against the cliffs, wind swooshing through the fields forcing much of the bracken and carpets of flowers to give in and every day you feel more alive because of the effect the island has on you! There is so much to explore and to discover on this island that a lifetime would probably not be enough to do so!
|strong and cold northerly 11/06/2019|
The focus has been on the whole island seabird counts conducted from our boat, puffin watches and monitoring, shearwater study plots, gulls monitoring and the visitors. We have completed our first whole island count of guillemots and kittiwakes from the boat and have started the second one yesterday. The whole island counts enable us to estimate our breeding seabird populations on the island. Manx shearwater study plots are 1000m2 plots, within which we check every single burrow for the presence of shearwaters. We play a tape playback with a dual male and female manxie call and listen if they respond. By doing this we are able to calculate how many shearwaters are there based on how many responses we record. This method was thoroughly described by Magda last year, you can look it up in the past blog posts.
We have also been watching new life emerging on the island such as young chicks hatching pretty much on a daily basis, playing hide and seek with their natural predators in order to survive and their parents passionatelly putting all their energy into feeding them. We have been looking at short-eared owls carrying voles to feed their young, actively driving gulls away in order to protect them, some kittiwakes still determined to build their nests despite the time already not being in their favour. Razorbill, guillemot, many of the puffin chicks are growing fast. Shearwaters are still to be born so stay tuned for the first chick notifications in the next few weeks! We will then spend 3 months watching them grow and exercise their wings, familiarising themselves with the surroundings before they leave to migrate to Argentina.
All this of course has been happening in conjuction with the day boats bringing 250-300 day visitors to Skomer to whom we always strive to talk to and to share our passion for islands with. It makes our hearts sing when we hear and read about everyone's experience on the island, how a single trip to Skomer often changes their lifes and how inspired they feel to make this world a better place to support the environment and wildlife. We are with you on that and this is exactly what our aim is!
What is also amazing is that despite the fact that we have all been very busy and a little bit tired, everyone remains cheerful, passionate, loving, full of enthusiasm and joy. Spending time with the team and seeing everyone's smiley face is very contagious and really does make a difference. Seeing everyone smile makes you want to get up every day to spend some time with them! We have such a fantastic team here this year that words cannot describe how fabulous every single person is and how much each one of them brings into the dynamics of the island! Everyone is very considerate, hard working, flexible, supportive and thoughtful, which is what is very important on this busy island, where plans often fall through. Being able to adjust is another aspect of the Skomer busy life and everyone deserves an A* for often needing and easily coping with the sudden modifications, which often have to be made due to the weather changes for example.
|us in between the Lesser Black-backed Gull cane counts|
|Manx Shearwater study plot counts|
|Counting cliff birds from our boat|
The key to the life on an island is to be in the present moment, to enjoy yourself, to enjoy other peoples company and really laugh! Laugh at everything and shake it all off ;)
Do you know what makes this world a better place? - becoming the positive and uplifting change that you wish to see in it! Set the example so that the others may follow you and find ways to feel inspired like we do every single day! And be yourself! Step from the norm that's rigorously dictated by the society...step into the unexplored, the unmapped and uncharted version of you and do not let other people tell you what is possible and what isn't as you are the only one who makes that call!
Thank you ALL for being a part of this Skomer brilliant family!