Thursday, 16 July 2009

Sunfish and showers

The last week on Skomer has seen a frustrating mix of weather. One minute some lovely hot sunny spells and the next torrential downpours on an impressive scale. The downpours seemed to coincide perfectly with the arrival of day trippers, thankfully most of whom were prepared with full waterproofs.

One good thing about being on the island in this kind of weather is that you get to see the weather coming, and sometimes have time to seek shelter in a hide or at the Farm buildings. It is exhilarating to watch a rain shower sweeping in across the sea, knocking down any chop or white water and forming a drifting curtain that gets closer and closer.

Torrential rain turning the courtyard into a muddy lake.

The Guillemots and Razorbills have now virtually all gone. There are a hand full of Guillemot chicks still to go and one or two Razorbills left. Some of the adult Guillemots hang around on the cliffs for a week or so after the chicks have left, but even their numbers are declining significantly now. The Fulmar eggs are hatching and some of the young chicks have been seen - the adults don't leave them whilst they are small. There are some Little Owl chicks that have been showing well and the Short-eared Owls are seen out hunting most days.

Oystercatcher roosts are beginning to build around the coast and we are seeing a few birds passing through. Yesterday two Herons flew over being mobbed by the Gulls and two Cuckoos were recorded.

The boatmen saw the first Sunfish of the season yesterday - these bizarre fish are shaped like a round dish and are often seen lying on their side basking in the sunshine. They can grow to 3m in size but the ones seen around Skomer are generally smaller at 1 to 1.5 metres. We normally see Sunfish in the late summer as they follow the blooms of jellyfish that they feed on.

Jo Milborrow
Skomer Warden

1 comment:

  1. Are the puffins still on skomer now? (its the 20th July)?