Thursday, 2 July 2009

Gannets and Stormies - The Grassholm Adventure

Skomer Island has its usual bustling day today, with puffin chicks venturing out into the day to stretch their wings under the watchful eye of their Puffin parents. We were also graced by a cuckoo that was being mobbed by a group of swallows, but still managed to gleam into the summer sun!

We were lucky enough to be able to book a evening trip to Grassholm, where all the staff and 2 volunteers were able to go and visit the huge Gannet colony on the 'Concerto in Cm'. This was run by the Dale Sailing company, that also runs the Skomer and Skokholm trips. We are very grateful to John for allowing us to come aboard and to give us this great experience.

So at 5pm we all set off on the Concerto in Cm, and all were excited to go and visit the unknown island which occupied the horizon from Skomer Island. As we reached Grassholm we were overwhelmed by the white cliff faces of the Gannet colony, sprinkled with thousands of Gannets chicks and adults. The sky around the island was full of flying Gannets and young fledglings, which were venturing out to sea to search for food. Everyone took a lot of photos of the birds and the island hoping to catch that one perfect picture of the Gannets.

We then left Grassholm and sailed on to The Smalls, where there is a huge lighthouse placed on top of a rocky outcrop in the middle of the sea, a 1/3 of the way to Ireland from Pembrokeshire. Here we were able to see flying Manx Shearwaters and Storm Petrels, out fishing in the sea in order to feed their young when they return to Skomer and the surrounding area in the evening. We tried endlessly to coax more Storm Petrels into our area with Cod Liver oil Rice Krispie Treats, but unfortunately it was unsuccessful.

After an hour of enjoying the evening sun, and the amazing wildlife at the Smalls, we sailed back to Grassholm and on to Skokholm Island. The beautiful Red Sandstone of Skokholm gleamed reds and purples all along the cliff faces, and the lighthouse, which is situated on Skokholm, sparkled against the setting sun.

We then returned to Skomer, floating into the sunset, which was quite a breathtaking moment. All in all, it was a great evening, and everyone on board the amazing Concerto in Cm was completely overwhelmed and amazed at how spectacular the experience was. We were all very grateful to Jo and Dave who organised the trip, and to Dale Sailing for running the trip to Grassholm. That experience will be hold dear to us for a very long time, Thanks again to everyone who was involved!!!

Haf Leyshon

Long term Volunteer

No comments:

Post a Comment