Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Skomer 2017

Phil and myself had planned a day trip down to West Wales on Sunday morning and were hoping the Red Footed Falcon at Strumble Head would still be around unfortunately it did not play ball and on disappeared Saturday morning. So with little notice we decided to still go west and go over to Skomer for the day, after having a great trip last year it seemed a good choice. We were up at stupid o'clock again, the weather forecast was looking really good and we made good time. When we arrived we were the second car in the car park and it was always looking good to get on the first boat over. Martin's Haven was buzzing with life and has we stood waiting for office to open we saw and heard Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat, Stonechat and Linnet. On the sea it was busy with loads of gulls, a couple of Gannets and Kittiwakes, this was a taste of things to come. On the boat trip over we had a group of feeding Gannets, when we looked close there was two Harbour Porpoises feeding on the same fish and we also got all three Auks before we had  landed. Once on dry land the fun started and we got great views of Razorbills and Guillemot on the rocks by the landing point. Once we had our safety talk with the Assistant Warden about staying on the path we were gone like a flash to the Wick too look for Puffins. When we got to the first stream there were lots of warblers feeding, we got a Chiffchaff and both Sedge warbler and Whitethroat. As soon as we reached the Wick the Puffin fest started. There were not as many Puffins around as last year (we went later and there were Puffins feeding chicks then). It felt like the Puffins were trying to cross the path but seemed reluctant when people were about. We stepped lower down the path where a Puffin come within two feet of me and crossed over and it was like watching the Great Escape. The noise and smell of the seabird colony was brilliant, we got close views of Fulmars over the cliff and the Kittiwakes were flying from inland with mud and grass and were busy building nest on the cliff face. We than decided to leave the Puffins in peace and carry on walking where we could see a Chough feeding down the path.  We saw good numbers of Chough this year, probably in double figures.

We finally found a bench and a much need coffee was had. A Herring gull was in attendance waiting for food and he seemed to rule the roost and chased off two Lesser Black Backed Gulls. The colour of the flowers was outstanding and was like someone had gone crazy with a paint brush.

Over the sea I picked up a large brown bird and at first glance I thought Bonxie but on looking closer it was a Common Buzzard, it flew low over the water and started to go out to sea and then turned and started coming back and did this for some time. I think he was looking for injured Auks and shows you can still see new things every time you go out. Next up were two Peregrine Falcons which looked like two young males from last year and were have a bit of a disagreement having at one point locked talons. A little later we saw a Female Peregrine so they were maybe fighting over her.
Phil was on the ball and found the only Short Eared Owl of the day. It was funny to see apart from two other people who were watching the owl the rest were just walking and not looking up at all.
It's staggering to think there is an estimated three hundred and twenty thousands pairs of Manx Shearwaters on Skomer and forty five thousand pairs on the neighbouring island of Skokholm, more here than anywhere else in the world and just to think they end up as gull food. We saw a good dozen corpses over the island and it makes you think how many are killed in a season.
We only saw one Butterfly species and it was Small Copper and we had about dozen in total.
We saw lots of Wrens and for a small bird what a cracking song.
We found two spotted Flycatchers near the vistors centre, a nice bird for the year list .
As we walked along I spotted this bird poo, I thought staight away looks like goose but we were not near any water I started thinking maybe not but maybe something better but just has we went around the corner we found the culprit and it was a Canada Goose .
When it was time to leave we saw four Barrel Jellyfish, they were a fair size and enough to feed a fulmar for a year. It was nice to see live ones as they were on the news last week saying there had been high numbers washed up on welsh beaches. For the day we mangered 43 species but there were lots of birds we had last year but not this year ,


  1. Another really good day out. Where next?

  2. Yes cracking day and no pressure and chill suites me mate.