Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Chick, chick, chickies..!

It's time for a bit of a catch up as we have all been run of our feet for the last week or so there hasn't been time to update the blog. Lots has been happening this week, both with visitors and with the birds so here's a bit of a run down....................

Tuesday 26th

The first Guillemot chick was seen today at the Amos. The Guillemots are particularly early this year (all the seabirds are a bit early), the first egg was seen on April 24th which is the earliest record ever for the island. Shouldn't be long before the Razorbill start hatching too.

Today we had a film crew filming Puffins for a documentary on the Seasons, the filming from Skomer will be in the Spring episode. Despite very windy conditions they got some good footage of the Puffins at the Wick and interviewed Dave M about the Puffins, their breeding season and how we count them.

Lots of Puffins bringing in beakfulls of fish for their newly hatched chicks now, this is a very encouraging sign that the Sand eel population around here is still healthy, we hope that this continues. It is still quite early for so many eggs to be hatching, normally we expect to see a few 'puffins-with-fish' in late May and then the majority start in very early June. This year it looks as though the Puffins, along with the other seabirds, are breeding a bit earlier.

Monday 25th

Bank holiday Monday dawned bright and sunny and we had a full complement of 300 visitors on the island.

Sunday 24th

Another bright sunny day with lots of visitors enjoying the island and in particular the Puffins. In the evening the Wardens took a group from the Pembrokeshire bird ringers over to Middleholm island to ring Shag chicks, they found 55 nests and rung about 70 chicks - although some chicks had already fledged and others were still too small to ring. Well done to the ringing volunteers who braved dive-bombing Gulls and projectile-pooing Shags! A fabulous evening for it, calm seas and the sun just dipped below the horizon as we cruised back home to Skomer.

The first Puffins with fish were seen today, taking them down their burrows to feed their newly hatched chicks. This is the first indication that the eggs have hatched and is just a day earlier than the first 'Puffin-with-fish' last year.

Saturday 23rd

Pleasant sunshine and a bank holiday weekend meant that the island was very busy with a full complement of day visitors. North Haven was a popular spot for people to moor up their boats and at times we had fifteen boats moored up enjoying the views and the rafts of Puffins on the water. Several people from yachts and motor boats came ashore for a stroll around the island.

Filming continued for an edition of 'Coast' and Miranda and Jo spent the evening in the water snorkelling with the Puffins, a very chilly but enjoyable way to spend an evening. The film crew left at 8pm after a long but successful two days filming on the island.

One of the volunteers that left us today had a nice treat before he left, he spotted two Spoonbills flying over North Valley and even managed to get a shot of them. The volunteers headed down to Moorey Mere to see if the Spoonbills landed but they weren't seen again. This is the 8th record of Spoonbill on the island and is the first since 2003 (also seen in late May).

Friday 22nd

A very wet, drizzly day but still lots of intrepid people braved the elements to visit the island and were rewarded with huge numbers of Puffins. They are often around in bigger numbers on the really grotty days. A film crew arrived to film a piece for 'Coast' to be broadcast next year. Filming during the day was hampered by the rain and wind. They filmed Manx Shearwaters at night as well as using the footage from the infra-red cameras we have down two Shearwater burrows (go to our website to see the live images).

A gas engineer also visited and installed a shiny new grill in the researchers accommodation and a new fridge/freezer in the visitors accommodation.

Jo Milborrow
Skomer Warden

1 comment:

  1. Trying to adjust to "civilisation" after a superb week as a volunteer on the Island. (Much prefer birds to most people.) My first time as a volunteer and looking forward to coming back.
    Thanks and best wishes to Jo, Dave, Dave M, Jerry, Haf, Tessa, Sam and poor Pete who must have sweated stones in that kitchen.

    Keep up the good work,

    Mel (greybeard and run into ground after all those ascents up the steps!)