Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Skomer Island in September

So, why visit Skomer Island in September, we hear you ask. Well, we (the Skomer Team) find it easy to think of a hundred different reasons! However, just to try and tempt anyone who fancies a Skomer adventure, here are a few…

·       Our wonderful island hostel. Come and stay the night in our peaceful and very comfortable accommodation, set in the centre of the island and with wonderful panoramic view of the Pembrokeshire coast. Once a working farm, it’s now the perfect way to experience Skomer Island, where you can see:

·         Grey Seals. September is a great time to see Grey Seals on Skomer, with plenty of animals hauling out on the many beaches and offshore rocks we have around the island, offering good and entertaining viewing! With many of our animals also pupping on our quiet secluded beaches, now is the best time to come and see the seal pups.   

·         Manx Shearwaters. All I can say is… What a bird! It’s just oozing with mystery and amazing facts. Did you know for example that Manxies (as they are affectionately named) are known to live for over 50 years? And that they travel from Skomer to the coasts of Argentina and back EVERY YEAR? Totally amazing! Skomer Island plays host to the largest colony of this bird in the world, with an estimated 316,070 pairs nesting here (wow!), and now is the time that the chicks start to leave their burrows at night, so it’s a busy place after dark. As Manx Shearwaters are only active on land at night, the best (and only!) way to experience these birds on land is to stay with us in the hostel. We look forward to seeing you!

·         Getting up close to nature.

-          Migrating birds. September is a particularly exciting and important time for migrating birds. Using the island as a refuelling station, many birds that leave the UK to winter in warmer climes will temporarily stop with us to take on fuel and to maintain their energy levels. Anything from ducks and geese, to waders, to owls and birds of prey, to thrushes, warblers, finches and buntings can be found on the island; the variety can be impressive! The island has a good track record for turning up fantastic rarities at this time of year also, so any keen birders? Come and try your luck!    
-          Insects. The island is still alive with insects, with butterflies and dragonflies still on the wing. The island moth trap is also frequently being operated at this time of year, offering the chance to see some of our lesser known nocturnal insects
-          Marine mammals. I’ve already spoken about the seals, but September is also one of the best times of the year to see Cetaceans around the isle. Harbour Popoise is seen daily around the coast at the moment, and Common Dolphin is also very frequent.

·         Genuinely stunning surroundings and fantastic walks. It’s no exaggeration when we describe some of the coastal landscapes here as breath-taking. The rugged coastal path that leads you round the island is truly impressive and well worth exploring.

So come and pay us a visit! Day trips are still sailing from Martins Haven from 10am onwards, until the end of the month, and of course there is still room in the hostel if you want to experience Skomer to its full potential.

Jason (Assistant Warden) 

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