Saturday, 8 August 2009

A potato in the hand; not as good as thousands of shearwaters on the sea.

As promised in my last post, the weather has been both hot and sunny the last few days. Fantastic times for being on Skomer.

Swimming in the sea at lunchtime is becoming a more regular occurrence, though maybe swimming is still to strong a word for what amounts to jumping in, screaming and thrashing about before quickly climbing back out. But we jump in again, and surely that's the point.

One of our success stories this year has been our vegetable garden. Resurrected after several untended years with a new and improved fence after a rabbit attack, it has begun to reap a terrific harvest: potatoes, beans, beetroot, carrots, peas, courgettes (millions of courgettes), radishes and a whole variety of lettuce. As well as being a relaxing way to spend the evening it has a more valuable role; we don't have to do as much shopping. I'm sure you can appreciate that bringing fresh vegetables back to the island is a problem - they are easily crushed and they soon go off, and potatoes are heavy. So a big thank you to everyone who has helped on that throughout the year, in particular volunteers Julian and Myf.

Well the life of a warden isn't all swimming and potatoes; we have deal with our fair share of awkward customers as anyone. Yesterday it was a couple from a motorboat who wanted to land on the island, a National Nature Reserve full of ground-nesting birds remember, with their dog. When it was pointed out that that wasn't allowed they explained that they only wanted to let their dog onto the beach so it could do it's business. As if that was fair enough and not completely disgusting.

The day was rounded off with an excellent evening round-island cruise on the Dale Princess. Myself and Haf joined a group of visitors to offer our 'in-depth' knowledge about the island, talking about the history and pointing out any bird life. We ended up north of Skomer and found a raft of thousands of Manx Shearwaters, a truly spectacular sight as they swarmed past us.

These birds were waiting to return to their burrows by the cloak of night. Trouble is the skies are clear and there's a really bright full moon out at the moment. Looks like those young shearwaters will just have to wait a while.

Jerry Gillham
Assistant Warden for Skokholm and Skomer.

1 comment:

  1. Who was the last to have a bath?
    As they have left something growing in it!

    Btw a lovely blog, thanks for taking the time to write it.