Monday, 17 August 2009


The last week has been a flurry of farewells, as Haf and myself left the island. It is always sad when the summer season is over and you have to become adapted to the stresses of mainland life! The last couple of days were very hectic as I was finishing off writing my part of the 2009 Seabird Report. Jo completes the other half of the report before sending it off to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee who compile our data along with data from the Isle of May, Fair Isle and Canna to produce an overview of seabird populations in the UK. A summary of 2008's report can be found at :-

Social activities also increased in the last week, despite being on an island you actually end up having less time to yourself than when your on the mainland because it is so sociable! My colleagues, volunteers and some of the 'repeat offending' overnight guests have made my stay on Skomer so enjoyable-there is always a friendly face around. This week we had more volunteers over than normal, as a group from the Pembrokeshire mainland reserves came over with an awful lot of wood to create a new boardwalk at Moorey Mere and to replace the boardwalk over South Stream.
Five boat loads of timber were bought over to the island

They did an amazing job, and seemed to have finished it before I'd even realised they'd started! Although it did take the whole day before to bring the planks over in the islands boat then carry them bit by bit up the track with the tractor. Dave didn't know whether he was coming or going after going back and forth so many times!
Volunteers installing new boardwalk at Moorey Mere

Tim Healing left this week too, after researching the Skomer vole population for the last three weeks, he's off to neighbouring Ramsay Island to investigate their rodent population. Numbers appeared to be high on Skomer, which is good news for the Short eared owls, as voles are their main prey item on the island. One of Skomers' regular volunteers Julian has been helping Tim out with checking traps, and will continue to do this for the next couple of weeks while he's on the island to get some extra data. Tim will be back next year for his 40th year of research on the island! Skomer Vole. Picture by D. Boyle

Ben and Holly (our resident Manx Shearwater researchers) might hopefully get some sleep soon, as their current tracking mission is nearly complete. I don't envy them staying up till 5am working, but then they do get to work with such beautiful interesting birds. Some of the chicks will be fledging in the next week as they are starting to look like a proper adult apart from a fluffy patch on their bum and their chin! Manx Shearwater nearly ready to fledge

Most of the shearwater chicks are still big fluff balls, including the ones in our web cam burrows. Check them out on:-

-especially interesting to watch in the evening after dark when the adults come in to feed the chicks.

My last day on the island was perfect, a gorgeous sunny day where we spotted 8 common dolphins off the coast. Carl and Kenny were even luckier on the Dale Princess round island cruise to see 3 Risso's dolphins-quite a rare sighting. The day was completed by a night of absorbing the sights and sounds of the Manx Shearwater whilst watching shooting stars in the recent Perseid meteor shower. Skomer is definitely an island paradise.

I'd like to thank everyone who's made my time on Skomer so special, and wish everyone Happy island viewing!

Tessa Cole

Field Assistant.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this blog! I spent some time volunteering on Skomer some years ago in the 90s and had a wonderful time, especially with all the shearwaters! One of them spent the entire day in the courtyard of the visitor's centre with its head down its burrow - people kept coming up and asking me 'what that bird was doing.' Had to say that they think you can't see them if they can't see you....

    Liz Williams