Wednesday, 17 April 2013

A sandwich... but still no cheese...

On a day with slightly more moderate winds than predicted and a bit of sunshine, boats were able to run out to the island at 10:00 and 12:00 and we received 33 day trippers and two over night guests.Things were a bit quite on the bird front but there were some Puffins rafting and coming ashore in the afternoon and a few migrants in the bushes (and flying over (swallows)). The highlight of my day however, was a Sandwich Tern which was spotted fishing in North Haven late in the afternoon. I arrived at Skomer in February from Blakeney Point in Norfolk, home to Britains largest Sandwich Tern colony. My last seven summers have been spent with these impressive terns and in a way it reminded me of home. Sandwich Terns spend the winter in the Mediterranean and in West Africa and this was the first that I had seen as well as the first record for Skomer this year.

Sandwich Tern in North Haven pm

Another link between Blakeney Point and Skomer at the moment is the fact that there have been large wrecks of auks off the east coast, including many Puffins. Puffins are rarely seen off the Norfolk coast but wrecks of emaciated birds are sometimes recorded. This year has seen an unprecedented number washing up and the RSPB have said that it may be the worst wreck for half a century. Martin Woodcock, an artist based in North Norfolk sketched one of the dead Puffins (still partially in winter plumage). Hopefully Skomer's Puffins will have a good breeding season this year to make good these east coast loses.

Puffin wrecked on Blakeney Point by Martin Woodcock

Great Black-backed Gull - love them or hate them, the Great-blacked backed Gull is an impressive predatory bird. On Skomer they eat a lot of Rabbits.

Eddie Stubbings, Skomer Warden

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