Sunday, 7 March 2010

Old and new.

After a bracing walk to Moorey Mere and The Farm I decided it was about time to update the Blog, mainly because the chilly wind is blowing an Easterly force 4 or 5, so it is time to warm up a little.

The island became inhabited again on the 1st March. With a full complement of two past wardens (Jo and Dave) and the two current wardens me and Jerry. The main aim of this first week is to have a big handover on how the island works and runs. Jo and Dave have been super and we both appreciate how much they know about the island and how much we have to learn. We have covered the monitoring programmes, plumbing, gas, solar hot water and the water supply. Along with cleaning the volunteers accommodation in preparation of first group on the 13th March.
Our first voyage out to the Island on the 1st was in fact with BBC Wales News. We were taken out on the Sea Safari to do a mornings filming and this also gave us a chance to open up some buildings and check the tractors worked. On the trip over the weather was superb and the cliffs were full of Guillemots , Razorbills, Fulmar and Kittiwake. At this time of year the cliff nesting birds will only return to the cliffs in calm weather with the aim of re-establishing old territories or building new ones. So fantastic for your first day though.

This was followed by a return trip to the mainland to pick up the Skomer boat and all our luggage. This generally went according to plan, with the exception of a slight hiccup with the tractor not starting whilst on the beach with an incoming tide. The water was already lapping at the tyres - with a quick battery change (still didn’t start), some head scratching, some hitting of several parts of the engine it started again, just as the water was about to cover the exhaust. Great way to start a new job if the tractor had not got going!! Sadly no pictures are available of this.

Wildlife highlights include the wing tagged Hen Harrier, another untagged Hen Harrier, Red Kite being harassed by several buzzards (or was it the other way round, we are not sure), groups of up to 7 buzzards soaring on a thermal (most likely birds from different adjoining territories just reminding each other of their presence), Short Eared Owls starting to pair up, Little Owl sitting on the walls, 2 pairs of Shovelar on North Pond, 126 roosting oystercatchers at South Stream. Small groups of Redwings. A singing Reed Bunting and singing Meadow Pipits. Stonechat. Among others. First Wheatear of the season was seen by Jerry yesterday.

We now eagerly await the first Puffins – watch this space!

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