Saturday, 5 July 2014

Volunteer Adventure and Vulture Petition

Diclofenac the Vulture killing drug is now available on EU market BAN IT NOW !

Read about the adventures of our new long-term volunteer and sign the petition to ban Diclofenac in Europe which has caused the death of thousands of vultures in Asia.

I’m Megan, the long term people engagement volunteer here on Skomer and will be for the next three months. I graduated from Aberystwyth University last year studying Countryside Management and this is my first placement. I arrived here on the 24th of June and it’s hard to believe that three weeks of my time are already over.

I have already learned so much and I have gained new skills: I now know how to drive a tractor! (with supervision at the beginning but on my own now), how to catch and identify Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks and how to handle Manx Shearwaters. A few nights ago I released one that was found walking around during the day. I've also had the chance to help the Oxford researchers with their night time work tracking immature shearwaters. They are such lovable and interesting birds it makes me feel very privileged to help conserve them.

My first encounter with a Shearwater

I have also been given the task to finish the productivity study of Guillemots and Razorbills at Bull Hole, which Catherine, the previous conservation volunteer had started. It’s a fantastic way to watch the different behaviors of the birds, (and the chicks are pretty cute too!) They are jumping at the moment so I have been watching them take the plunge.

Who is who on the Guillemot ledge?

"Come on little one, don't be scared, take the plunge"

The sunny weather has let me and the lovely short term volunteers go swimming for four nights in a row. The puffins must think we’re oddly shaped seals and come very close to us. It’s pretty magical watching them flying over you in the water. We've also made friends and swam with Shauna the seal, (her name so Andy the visitor officer tells me), and one bull which we've named SiĆ“n.

I've barely had to cook for myself since I've been here, Andy (the Wildlife Trust's Field Worker) has prepared lovely fresh bbq fish each week and I regularly get fed by the lovely researchers.

I also got to volunteer on the Marine Nature Reserve's patrol boat. I was able to get an insight into the monitoring work the MNR do and saw Gannets and Porpoises up close. It was great to see the Island from a whole new perspective, (plus the waves were pretty fun too!)

And in the evenings I go watching the sunset - it has become a ritual of mine. Once you've seen it you'll never want to miss it!

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