Thursday, 14 March 2013

Goodbye and thanks Chris

Well with the cold snap over for now we can stop huddling together for warmth and continue our intensive training with Chris. Actually, if the weather holds, Chris will be leaving us tonight, to make sure he does get back and onto his train up to Orkney in a couple of weeks time to start his new job. We thank Chris for all his hard work and banter. Since our last blog post we have been learning about the infrastructure of the buildings on the island, going over all the monitoring tasks and have started the huge cleaning job needed to get the place ready for the first volunteers and guests. We moan but the cold snap was actually quite fun and you don’t get snow and ice on Skomer every day. 

Some of the Razorbills that are starting to return to the cliffs
Last Saturday, during fine weather, many auks moved in towards the islands again (which they apparently do on a roughly three day cycle at this time of year). In North Haven alone we counted over 500 Guillemots and 365 Razorbills sat on the cliffs and the water. The rafts on the water included our first few Puffins. A Red Kite drifted close over our heads and there were a few small migrants about in the form of Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests.

We saw our first Sand Martin on Sunday and a Black Redstart was briefly present at the farm on the Monday.
A migrant male Chaffinch yesterday.

Highlights of the last few days have been Kestrels mating and investigating nest cavities in South Haven. There is also a pair of Peregrines showing some interest in roughly the same area and it would be interesting to know how they would get on as neighbours. We have also seen our first Short-eared Owl since moving out to the island (though we have heard S E and Barn Owls). There is also a large assemblage of Water Rails at South Stream. Whether this has been a movement of birds caused as a result of the cold snap is difficult to know but as is often the case in these circumstances the birds have become less secretive in search of food and up to four can be seen out in the open at any one time

The landing stage Chough flock
The shadow bird (just my bad photo of a Raven really).

We are learning about the local 'wild' life everyday. These Rabbits with white stripes are apparently called Dutch Rabbits.

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