Friday, 8 March 2013

Rocky start on Skomer Island

Have you ever had to move house? Yes, then you probably know how tedious and tiring it is to move heavy boxes full of books:  banging into the door frame as you go - down the stairs, narrowly avoiding a slip - along the pavement, skirting the dog poop - into a van, mind your back! and then everything in reverse at the place of destination.

Now imagine moving into a multi-storey building and the lift is broken - and to make things a bit more interesting someone has spilled grease onto the stairs.
Now you can imagine how we felt on Saturday when we had to move all of our belongings down onto a very slippery jetty at Martins’s Haven and up 80 uneven and just as slippery steps on Skomer Island. 

The jetty at Martin's Haven with all our possessions
To be honest, we probably would have resisted buying the 25kg sack of rice and the 20kg of potatoes, not to mention the box of Tunnock’s bars or the family pack of toothpaste, and we might have even settled for the small bag of flour and abstained from beer and wine if and only if we had known how strenuous the Skomer take-over would become.
The trouble was that our little inflatable boat - which could have landed on the beach, where the tractor can get to - broke that very morning so that we ended up using the Dale Princess. We are very grateful that John Reynolds came to our rescue and made moving to the island, that Saturday, possible. 

Bee and Nia on the Dale Princess

Huge thanks also go to Chrissie and Gary from Lockley Lodge for assisting on the mainland and especially to Nia and Chris who with enormous bravery helped tackle the task of lugging all of our gear up those steps. We felt a bit ashamed helping them carry their three bags each...
We worked like Sherpas till sunset and managed to get everything into the house that night.

Eddie carrying 40kg of flour up the steps on Skomer
Since then our days have been filled with endless wonders: fire alarm system, septic tank, generator, solar PV ... but luckily everything is working and after a bit of spring cleaning we are feeling at home already!
Of course there is more to Skomer and the Warden’s job than just buildings and maintenance, there’s the absolutely fabulous wildlife too. And we have already been in for several treats. On Monday the 4th we heard the very first Manx Shearwater for the 2013 season and listened to the eerie call of a hunting Short-eared Owl. The next day we did an all island recce and literally looked at every nook and cranny of it. Ed spotted a Northern Wheatear opposite the Mew Stone and as there have only been four earlier Skomer records since 1969 it was quite an exciting observation. Chris spotted a Chiffchaff in North Valley later that morning and at 1300 we saw four Pink-footed Geese flying from the North Pond towards the mainland. Another good find was a Raven’s nest with 5 lovely blue eggs in it.

Oystercatcher roost at Welsh Way
Raven's nest



  1. Looks like you are staying for a while, which is good news!

  2. Well done guys. Like a lot of other previous vols, I can sympathise with having to carry stuff up those steps. I expect Chris ran like a gazelle ahead of you!

  3. thanks for share.

  4. This is great news B and Eddie, starting as you mean to go on, with the hard work and even more wonders! I wish you all the best over the coming months and look forward to visiting your amazing New surroundings. Jamie B.

  5. Looking forward seeing all these wildlife wonders and of course you 2 again ;-)