Saturday, 30 April 2016

A week of firsts

This last week on Skomer has really felt like the spring has kicked off. Even though the weather has been a little hit and miss, our seabirds have been busy!
Our first Razorbill egg was recorded on the Wick on the 26th. Spotting it proved a little easier for Elisa (Field Worker) as most of the Auks had deserted the cliffs that day, narrowing the search to just a few birds. Sadly, the 26th was also when we saw our first Razorbill egg predated by a Raven, as is often the case with the first eggs laid. 

 If you look really closely at the feet of the bird on the left you can see part of an egg! We recorded our first Guillemot egg on the 27th, although It was seen flying past in a Ravens beak, another casualty to the Ravens needing to feed their ever growing chicks. More eggs have been recorded since, and this photo was taken at the Wick.

Ravens are one of our earliest breeders on Skomer and were on eggs when we first checked them at the start of March. The chicks are now getting huge and starting to explore the cliff outside the nest. This chick is at the Amos and there are 3 chicks at the Wick and 3 chicks at High Cliff, not to mention the other nests dotted around the island. Fledglings wont be long...

Can you spot the bird in this picture? Manx Shearwaters can get caught out by the morning light and find the nearest dark spot to hide. This one chose a small hole in the bottom of the garden wall. 

 To make it easier here’s an overexposed photo. On the 28th the first Manx Shearwater egg was found, and it was laid by the same bird as the earliest laying bird in 2015, amazingly! We also had the first Lesser Black Backed Gull egg on the 20th and the first Great Black Backed Gull egg on the 18th.

We are noticing lots of baby Rabbits about, but not many of them are as cute as this one, which is often found in the daffodils in the Courtyard. 

 Buzzards have been attentively sitting on the nest for the last few weeks and can be seen well at Pigstone bay. Look out for the grassy clump on the diagonal band of lighter rock on the face of the cliff.
This male pied wagtail successfully bred at the farm last year and has another nest this year. Through a combination of numerous photos and photographers over two years we have finally managed to read the ring. This bird was ringed as a juvenile male on Skokholm in 2014, maybe not as far as we’d hoped it had travelled but still an interesting record!

The weather over the last week has been fairly rubbish with strong winds mainly from the north. Although we’ve had some heavy hail storms, they are sometimes followed by sunny skies and amazing rainbows. Lets hope the weather improves for May! 

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