Tuesday 19 October 2021

September work party

From 18th -25th September we were joined by seven volunteers to rebuild North Pond research hide. The hide has been looking worse for wear for quite some time, but we returned this year to find the hide no longer had a roof or a door that worked. Still, we persevered throughout the year still managing to see several ‘good for Skomer’ birds, including Iceland Gull, Little Grebe, Spotted Redshank and Curlew Sandpiper from the hide. The hide became particularly messy in late summer though as the gulls and jackdaws used it as a roosting spot… 

A plan was hatched and the majority of the materials for the hide were delivered in April, when the island was still closed. On first impressions it appeared enough materials had been delivered to build two hides twice the size of the previous one, it’s amazing though how quickly you use up materials when working on a project like this. Here’s a photo story of the hide construction: 

Unloading work party kit from the Dale Princess. One weeks’ worth of kit, tools and food. It was our biggest changeover of the year but many hands made light work! C. Aston 

The state of the hide before we started work. Door, roof and shutters are all missing. Various parts of the hide were found either in the pond or in the grass surrounding the pond in spring. L. Newman

Demolition in progress just an hour or two after arriving on the boat. L.Newman

Hide post-demolition. One of the most difficult things about this job was the distance to hand carry everything to and from the farm. L.Newman

Hide construction underway. Getting all six posts, for the main body of the hide, square and level was a tricky task! L. Newman

 Phil and Rob mixing concrete to secure the posts. Mixing by hand was far easier than dragging a generator and cement mixer down from the farm. P & D Blatcher

Hide starting to take shape. Horizontal cross beams are the bottoms of the hide windows. L. Newman

Tea break. Martin and Nigel instigated a regimented tea break at 10:30am every day. Breaks are important; they also happened to coincide with PopMaster on Radio 2. P & D Blatcher

Front of the hide taking shape. Thankfully, we were blessed with good weather for nearly the entire week. A rare treat in September. P & D Blatcher

Hide construction finished. Screen in place, just the painting to go. L. Newman

Phil entering the hide. P & D Blatcher 
The team from left to right: Leighton, Martin, Rob, Nigel, Phil, Will, Dorothy (cook), Steve. 
P & D Blatcher

 I wish I had more photos of the hide to start with but as normally happens with a keen work party, the hide was dismantled before lunch on the first day and before I had a chance to take many photos. 

It was an incredibly dry summer and North Pond was reduced to a small puddle by September. It was still drawing in birds though, even whist we were building the hide, with a Dunlin dropping in and multiple Grey Wagtails. Since then we’ve had a bit more rain and have recorded Teal, Shoveler and Mallard, with more to come hopefully.

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved with the work party and a thank you to Mike Penny who kindly provided the architectural drawings for the hide which gave us something to aim for. The work party was, as ever, really good fun and it's amazing how much you can achieve with the hands of six brilliant volunteers and one excellent cook!  

Monday 11 October 2021

A Summary of Welsh Wednesday 2021

This year, the Skomer Team introduced a new concept at our Sales Point: Welsh Bird of the Week. Seeing how much our visitors engaged with this initiative, the concept also went digital, being shared on our Social Media platforms, and dubbed "Welsh Wednesday".

It's been a great opportunity for the island team, as well as our visitors and followers, to engage further with the wonderful Welsh language.

Many of you have asked for a full online guide of Skomer wildlife in Welsh. While we are, as yet, unable to deliver on this (the team is made up of Welsh learners themselves!), we thought it would be nice to compile a list of birds which have been featured in the 2021 season. 

Keep an eye out for one mammal species that also featured this year!

So, in (Welsh) alphabetical order:

Aderyn Drycin Manaw

© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Aderyn Drycin Manaw

English: Manx Shearwater

Meaning: Manx Storm Bird

Brân Goescoch

A pair of chough
© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Brân Goescoch 

English: Chough 

Meaning: Red-legged Crow


© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Brongoch

English: Robin

Meaning: Red Breast


© Skomer Volunteer Warden / WTSWW

Welsh: Cigfran 

English: Raven 

Meaning: Meat-crow 

Copsyn y Môr 

© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Copsyn y Môr 

English: Great black-backed gull 

Meaning: Sea scamp


© Skomer Warden / WTSWW

Welsh: Drilyn 

English: Kittiwake 


© Skomer Assstant Warden / WTSWW

Welsh: Dryw 

English: Wren

Gwrach yr Ellyll 

© David Tippling / 2020VISION

Welsh: Gwrach yr Ellyll 

English: Common Swift 

Meaning: The Goblin's Witch

Gwennol y Bondo

© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Gwennol y Bondo 

English: House Martin 

Meaning: Eaves' Swallow


© Skomer Assistant Warden / WTSWW

Welsh: Hugan 

English: Gannet

Hwyaden Gladdu

© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Hwyaden Gladdu 

English: Shelduck 

Meaning: Burial Duck 

Iâr Ddŵr 

© Skomer VO / WTSWW
Welsh: Iâr Ddŵr 

English: Moorhen 

Meaning: Water Hen 

Jac Llwyd y Baw

© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Jac Llwyd y Baw 

English: Dunnock 

Meaning: Dirty Grey Jack 

Morlo Llwyd

© Seal Project Officer / WTSWW

Welsh: Morlo Llwyd

English: Grey Seal


© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Mwyalchen 

English: Blackbird


© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Pâl 

English: Puffin 

Pegi Big Hir 

© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Pegi Big Hir 

English: Curlew 

Meaning: Long beaked Peggy


© Skomer Assistant Warden / WTSWW

Welsh: Poethwy 

English: Razorbill 

Meaning: Hot egg


© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Sigl-di-gwt 

English: Pied wagtail 󠁧󠁢󠁷

Meaning: Shake-yer'-but

Teiliwr Llundain

© Skomer Volunteer Warden / WTSWW

Welsh: Teiliwr Llundain 

English: Goldfinch 

Meaning: Little Tailor from London

Tinwen y Garn

© Skomer VO / WTSWW

Welsh: Tinwen y Garn 

English: Wheatear 

Meaning: White-bum of the stones 

Twm Pib

© Skomer Assistant Warden / WTSWW

Welsh: Twm Pib 

English: Oystercatcher 

Meaning: Piping Tom

Tylluan Glustiog

© Skomer VO / WTSWW
Welsh: Tylluan Glustiog 

English: Short-eared Owl 

We hope you have enjoyed learning a little more Welsh with us this year. Until next time. Wela i di wedyn!

Beth, Visitor Officer