Thursday, 22 July 2010

Evenings on Skomer

The puffins are still at the Wick, but only for a couple more weeks. Last night there were hundreds, running around all over, squabbling between themselves and wheeling about in the sky. It was very easy to take photos and a quick film too. You'd think that I would have enough puffin photos by now after four months on the island but it's very easy to take lots more, they are just so photogenic.

Nights have been busy with Manx shearwaters. The cloudy weather has been perfect for them to sneak past the hungry gulls. Last week I went out at about eleven pm to see them come in to land, it was very very dark and raining quite heavily but it didn't put the birds off. I even had to duck a couple of times as they swooped past my head, it was very exciting listening to their eerie calls as they found their way back to the burrow and the hungry chick waiting inside.
If you would like to experience the shearwaters returning at night we still have spaces available in our overnight accommodation. There are rooms available in August, September and October from only £25 per person per night in August and only £20 pppn in September and October. Click here for a link to our bookings page

If you would like to see a shearwater during the day, pop into the visitor's centre at the Old Farm and have a look at the burrow camera. The chick in burrow 1 has hatched now and just be seen next to the adult bird, look for a grey fluffball. We also have footage recorded in previous years so that you can be certain to see a chick.
The egg in burrow 2 fared less well and didn't hatch, but it has still been interesting to watch the activity in the burrow with sexton beetles busy burying the dead egg.

Sexton beetle and egg
The beetle is in the lower right side of the photo and has bright orange patches on its back. Sexton beetles (also known as burying beetles) are really useful as they tidy up dead animals, burying carcasses underground to lay their eggs in.

July and August have been good for butterflies and moths, small copper butterflies and hummingbird hawk moths are my personal favourites, look for them around the sea campion at the cliffs and honeysuckle at the landing point.

Small copper butterfly

That's all for now,

Amy Corton

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