Monday, 22 June 2009

Give it some more gas.

Well it was a nice sunset and people stayed up for shearwaters, but no one managed it all the way to sunrise.

Monday means no boats, so a variety of habitat management and paperwork tasks to catch up on. I took the volunteer wardens out bracken bashing in Shearing Hays (one of the old fields) this morning. We try to keep a diversity of vegetation on the islands and bracken can easily get out of control, preventing other species from growing. The puffins and particularly the shearwaters struggle to move through large patches of bracken so if allowed to expand it's area it'll impact on their available nesting space. So we head out there with a variety of bashing implements - canes, pipes and tennis rackets - and break the stems so they die down. It does look strange to anyone wandering past; six people swinging a variety of blunt weapons at the vegetation.

The volunteers did a cetacean watch, part of an ongoing weekly project, and were anticipating a good few sightings after yesterday's dolphin excitement but were left disappointed. Still, we'll try and look in the same place this evening.

With the seas so flat we went on a gas run. This involved loading up our little boat with fourteen of the big red empty gas bottles, taking them over to Martin's Haven and swapping them for ten full ones. Ideally this should be done at high tide otherwise, as today, one has to carry (or roll) heavy gas bottles up and down the beach.

With this major job out of the way, and with it still being a hot day, I waded into the sea off our beach and swam across to the boat landing then ran up the steps. I wish I could say that this is my normal morning routine but it obviously isn't. The sea is around 13C at the moment; not too cold but you wouldn't want to stay in for too long.

Sounds like it's going to be a busy day tomorrow. I'm off to prepare for it with baked potatoes for dinner, something I've not been able to have while we were running low on gas.

Jerry Gillham
Skomer / Skokholm Assistant Warden

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