Wednesday 22 November 2017

Ready, steady, go...

The last week before moving off is always frantic - even if you feel like you have finished all jobs that need doing you will always find more.

We've been cleaning and tidying, packing and organising and on top of that continued to monitor the seals and did the final post-storm repairs.

The seal births have slowed down a lot - on average one pup is born every week instead of several per day as during the busiest times. We've monitored over 200 pups on Skomer this year, but for me it's still a magical moment when I find a new born pup on a beach. Some of you may have already seen our amazing seals on Countryfile in November.

One of the remaining pups, it was born on the 14th and is growing nicely

We did the final checks of our seal caves and our pups in Seal Hole and the Lantern were doing well. It was a beautiful day and the rays of sunshine streamed over the rocks at the Lantern.

Autumn on Skomer is spectacular - I think it's due to the very soft and low light which makes everything glow in warm brown, yellow and red tones; and because the sun is so low the cliffs look dramatic as they cast their long shadows.

Sunrise in November

As mentioned above we also finished the roof repairs at North Haven. After storm Ophelia we fixed the hole in the roof with plywood but now we were able to fit the proper roofing sheets. Lizzie (WTSWW Conservation Manager) succeeded in finding a supplier, which was rather difficult as this type of roofing sheet isn't produced anymore. So the ones we ordered were made in the Czech Republic by hand - just imagine that.

Work begins...
and continues...
and continues...
and finishes, just as it gets dark!

And then there was the Farm garden to tidy up. In September a work party helped us to dismantle our leaky water tank and now we had to clean, sort and store the panels ready for next year's workparty which will hopefully put the tank back together again.

Before and...

It's quite funny to be packing to move off when some of the wildlife is actually getting ready for the next breeding season. We've seen Guillemots and Razorbills back on the cliffs, the Fulmars look as if they are here to stay and if you ask the Ravens they will tell you: love is in the air!

In the last few days we have been frantically looking at windguru to find the weather window we need to move off. A while ago Friday looked good, then Friday looked bad, then Friday looked good again and if the forecast doesn't change once more we will be off on Friday - keep your fingers crossed!

Current forecast - might change again in two hours :-(

So our bags are packed and we are now waiting for the ready, steady, go!

(Skomer Warden)