Thursday, 21 April 2011

Jasper Holmes, part 2

Another installment of Jasper Holmes. - A relection of the end of the week.

Interesting birds this week include masses of MAnx Shearwaters at night. Grasshopper warbler, and pied flycatcher have also been spotted.


Dawn is stunning and it promises to be a warm,sunny day but what on earth am I doing up at 6.30? I have been waking ever earlier but going to bed earlier as well. I am almost going to bed and getting up with the light,all very earthy.

Today we are split into two groups.TheMaggies are down at the landing stage to manhandle the first visitors off the boat whilst Jenny and I are chough spotting.This basically means sitting on rocks is the sunshine looking out to sea and is my favourite ‘job’.

We set up at the first hotspot and getting choughing.Jenny looks for porpoise and I wonder how many rabbits there are on the island. I am getting a little fixated with the black ones.I think about smuggling a few off the island and setting up ‘Skomer Zoo’ in direct competition with Anna Ryder-Richardson’s. I would have puffin displays and shearwater enclosures and rides.Oh and a porpoise tank.The chough feeding would be out as there doesn’t seem to be any on the island.

A beautiful sea mist begins to come ashore,fingers of white caress the cliffs and rocks as we make our way to other sunbathing ,err, chough, hot spots . The mist clears as quickly as it arrives and with that at last a chough! One to report tonight after four hours out in the field.Someone has to do it I suppose.

In the afternoon we head down to the landing and the Maggies ,instead of our onerous morning duties, have to stick canes in the ground to make a grid to monitor numbers of lesser black backed gulls.It is actually quite hard work and it is hot and the gulls hate it. They have picked the long cane.

The departing visitors have had a wonderful day and are full of sunny smiles.There is something very satisfying in seeing them full of the joys of Skomer.

But the evening brings a very worrying development.A short eared owl is spotted and I literally drop everything and run to see it. My worst nightmare,I have become a Twitcher.Aaaaaaaaaaaaaagh.

The Maggies return sunburnt ,exhausted and covered in gulls droppings. But there is work not over yet. They had promised to make a pudding!!

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