back on our island home on 2nd March this year, a day later than 2022
only delayed by northerly winds on the 1st.
|Crossing over to Skomer on Wave Dancer - thanks Dale Sailing! © Skomer VO|
thing to note was that the steps haven’t gotten any easier and we don’t seem to
be able to pack any lighter. Having said that, within two hours we were at the
top, bags and all and heading to the buildings to check for damage and get the
vehicles started (first time for both!).
|A quick biscuit break halfway through moving boxes up the steps © Skomer Warden|
|A fully loaded dumper ready to head up to the Farm © Skomer VO|
spent the winter not in the UK, it’s always pleasing to hear that the weather
hasn’t been too harsh and our buildings are certainly showing signs of having
wintered well. The usual problems with a seized water pump seems to be the
worst casualty of the winter so far – far better than arriving back to part of
the roof missing at North Haven as in 2022. Internally, the buildings are also
drier than usual, although they’re still cold; some things will never change.
|Sunset on our first day back on Skomer © Skomer VO|
around on the first day it was pretty shocking how dry the island is – paths
that are usually sodden and slippery were cracked and parched and there was no
sign of any standing water on the main track. It looked more like a dry August
than your typical March.
second day, the water was covered by auks; from afar resembling an oil slick
with lines almost as far as you can see. Amongst the rafts in South Haven was,
somewhat surprisingly, our first Puffin of the year. This is our earliest ever
record beating three previous records on 6th March, most recently in
2019 and seven days earlier than the first of 2022 on the 10th
|Our first puffin of the 2023 season, rafting with razorbills in South Haven © Skomer Warden|
last week we’ve been cleaning and on office work – often in front of the fire
especially during the latest cold snap. On the nice afternoons we’ve been out
re-widening paths, getting ready for the visitor season which is rapidly
|Ready to tackle the mould... © Skomer Assistant Warden|
Last night (9th March) was an exciting night when we heard the first Manx shearwaters calling over
North Haven. It’s been a quiet start to the year for shearwaters with the moon
likely playing its part, however, last night was thick cloud and drizzle – the
perfect shearwater conditions! Having been braced by the strong winds and rain
yesterday morning, a warm wind blew from mid-morning which meant yesterdays
temperatures fluctuated between 1˚C and 11 ˚C. Here’s
hoping that the mad-March weather calms down a little and allows the passage of
some migrants – a goldcrest is all we’ve had so far.
|Painting in the Hostel © Skomer Assistant Warden|
|Manxies calling and wing beats in North Haven © Skomer Warden|
In a weeks’
time we’ll be welcoming the first volunteers and work party of the year, so we
better sign off and get things sorted for them.
Leighton, Skomer Warden.