Thursday 28 February 2013

The 2013 season begins

Eddie, Rich, Lucy, Bee and Sash heading out to Skokholm and Skomer to check things out
You may already be familiar with the new Skokholm Wardens, Giselle and Rich (see their Skokholm blog) but you are probably less familiar with the new Wardens on Skomer Ed (left) and Birgitta (second from right). We arrived from Norfolk, where we had been working for the National Trust and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust respectively, only three weeks ago to start our new lives living and working on one of Britain's most important nature reserves. 
Our first couple of weeks on the mainland were filled with the hugely exciting tasks of reading through health and safety manuals, risk assessments and going on first aid courses. We have also now employed three assistants for the 2013 season. Nia Stevens will be Assistant Warden, Nia has previously worked on Skomer and Ramsey and will be a huge asset on the island. Will Whittington worked as Warden on Skokholm last year and will be Hostel Warden on Skomer this year. Richard Kipling will be doing his third year as Field Assistant. Filling all of these posts required making some extremely hard decisions and we extend our best wishes to all of the competent people who were unsuccessful.
On Friday the 15th we headed out to the islands with Sash and Lucy (far right and middle) to check for any damage caused by winter storms and generally get a feel for how the buildings had survived the winter. Thankfully they were in tip top condition and there were no major problems to worry about. It was a gorgeous day and the seals and birds were obviously enjoying basking in the spring like weather but were possibly a little surprised to see people again.
The Wick, with hundreds of Guillemots already on station
Over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of February we attended the Friends of Skokholm and Skomer reunion. We were amazed by the amount to support and work that the friends give to both the islands. Everyone was extremely welcoming to us but equally sad to see Chris go. There were talks on the birds of Skomer and Skokholm and seabirds around the world. As well as this there were practical matters like finance and renovations discussed. These guys really get things done.
We are sorry that it has taken three weeks to post on the blog but we have been very busy preparing for our coming move out to the island and the season ahead. Hopefully we will be more regular in our island updates from now on. Weather dependent we should be moving over on the weekend and signs are good at the moment. Four of us will be moving out initially, those being Chris Taylor, Nia, Bee and Eddie.

More pictures from our island recce:

The famous Skokholm landing

The first glimpse of our new home