Saturday, 26 May 2012

Glorious Skomer with Friends

Dale Princess

Up at 6am and 2 Crossbills flying over my house before heading off to Skomer with my dear friend Javier Hidalgo and his friends Penny Williamson and Keith and Paulette Murray.  As well as being one of the World's top sherry makers Javier is a superb ornithologist and conservationist particularly in his native Spain.  This was to be his first visit to the island.

The Wick

Arriving at Martin's Haven Choughs were very noisy and an amazing flock of 26 flew overhead as we got ready to board the Dale Princess.  I also bumped into a group of birders from Essex which included old pals Annetta Adams and Steve Grimwade of Swallow Birding.  It was so nice to see them again.  We set off full of anticipation as usual.


Arriving at the jetty the immediate spectacle of hundreds of Puffins stirred the system significantly.  We lugged luggage up to the tractor and walked on to the farm.  More Choughs were very vocal and noisy Oystercatchers chased off predatory gulls.  My friends were staying the night to hopefully witness the spectacular sight of thousand of Manx Shearwaters coming ashore after dark so they had to get there rooms sorted before we could walk.  We made for the Wick where more great Puffin views can be had.  The wind was very strong here but we could enjoy a few Puffins some already coming in with beakfuls of sand eels for their newly hatched young.

Puffin with sand eels
At the Wick we could also observe great rows of Guillemots with Kittiwakes just above them and higher up the cliff nests of Fulmars.  Ravens patrolled the very tops.  We moved on toward Skomer Point and it was Javier who suddenly called Honey Buzzard.  Sure enough there was one of these rare raptors coming in from the west being mobbed by Lesser Black-backed Gulls and we could all confirm its ID before it slipped away under a ridge.  Feeling very satisfied we headed back to the farm for lunch and a glass or two of sherry of course.

Another Puffin with sand eels

I was leaving on the 3pm boat so we all walked back down to the landing stage and spent time watching very tame Razorbills and more Puffins carrying sand eels.

Another superb day of Skomer concluded with a welcome cup of coffee with Annette, Steve and friends at the Clock House.  If you have never been to Skomer go soon before the Puffins leave in mid July.

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