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WEATHER: overcast for most of the day with sunshine later, very light breeze, top temp 19C

We had a terrific day on Skomer Island, the weather was just perfect, no wind, the sea was flat calm and thousands of birds were everywhere you looked.

We arrived at Martin's Cove a little early and found a few species around the national trust car park and during our short walk down to the jetty to catch the boat. Skylarks sang above us and Common Whitehtroats sang from the hedgerows. Meadow Pipits dashed around the bracken covered landscape and we had a close encounter with a Sedge Warbler. Common Stonechat was seen along the lane as we drove to Martin's Cove.

Martin's Cove where we saw our first Choughs

From the Jetty we saw Cormorant and Shag, Great Blacked-backed Gull and three Choughs as they flew over us just before we boarded the boat. As soon as we set off, Puffins were seen on the water with both Razorbills and Guillemots, the density of the birds increased as we apporached the island. Soon we were immersed in Puffin-world, hundreds of them flew over us making huge whirling circles as they prepared to land on the steep grassy slopes of the island. Many more just sat on the water in huge rafts with Guillemots and Razorbills and the odd Shag.

on the boat Francis and Czech encountered a very tame Herring Gull

The noise and the smells were noticeable especially when you got an updraft of wind from the cliffs. We had almost 5 hours in which to explore the island and we used every last minute walking the entire perimeter. We had several target species and missed some of them, but we happy with what we found. We made our way up to the Old Farm in the centre of the island where we found the Toilets! 

the central island habitat, of Skomer. Red Campion dominating the cliffs

Birds in and around the farm included, Meadow Pipit, Common Whitethroat, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Blackbirds, Sedge Warbler, dozens of Lesser-blacked Gulls were breeding in the valley and we saw plenty of almost flegded chicks sitting on rocks or tufts of grass. The gull have no predators on the island so the chicks can safely sit where they like.

Red Campion and the white Sea Campion

We then took a circluar anti-clockwise walk around the island's coastal path, staring at Garland Stone. From there we had our first very close up views of the Puffins as they within a few few of us carrying a mouth full of Sand Eels. se porr little birds travel great distances to find the fish to feed their chicks and when they arrive back at their nests there are Gulls waiting to stael their catch. We saw this happen a couple of times, but we saw more unsuccessful attempts than successful ones.

Puffin with sand eels

Puffin head shot

Puffins having a chat

more Puffins



The main species on the island and the surrounding islands support the worlds biggest colony of Manx Shearwaters, they told us that now there are over 1 million birds nesting on just three islands, 500,000 pairs. Of course, we never saw a single one, because they out at sea fishing and do not return to their nest until after dark. We saw plenty of carcasses where some had succombed to the predatory gulls and countless small holes in the ground where they nest.

Rock Pipit

For the most of the day we were walking, we covered the entire island, making stops at such places as: Bull Hole, Pigstone Bay, Skomer ead, The Basin, and of course, the most popular place 'The Wick'. At the Wick you can stand on the footpath and Puffins will run around your feet, it was crowded with photographers, dozens of them. From the path we scoped a Peregrine's nest with two, almost fullly-grown chicks, we watched the Fulmars and Kittewakes and more Guillemots than you are ever likely to see.

During our walk we added Oystercatcher, we heard Curlews, we saw Raven, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Northern Wheatear, Rock Pipit. Northern Gannet, Carrion Crow and Magpies. We never saw any of the three pairs of Short-eared Owl, nor a Whinchat and we only saw two more Choughs.

Northern Wheatear fledgling

The island was covered in beautiful flowers, mostly Red Campion, but also sea Campion and others. Other wildlife seen included Rabbits, Grey Seal, we saw a huge Compass Jelly Fish. We saw one butterfly species, a Red Admiral and a couple of moths, Barred Straw and Brown Silverline. 

 a crowded cliff-face - hundreds of Guillemots, I can only pick out two chicks in this picture!

After our trip we walked back up to car park, stopping for tiolets and an ice-cream before heading off for the short journey to Dale. The sky cleared and the sun came out, so we spent another walking along the raised pathway at the Gann. It was very low tide so most of the birds we at agreat distance. We counted 43 Curlews and many more Oystercatchers along with Rock Pipits, Linnets, Goldfinches, Mute Swan and lots of Herring Gulls. A Black-headed Gull dropped in and as I was scoping it a second gull dropped in, it was a Mediterranean Gull in summer plummage. Unfortuantely it did not stay for very long and only a couple of us saw it in the scope.

the Compass Jelly Fish

Later I found out that full summer plummage Franklin's Gull was in the area, but I'm sure our bird was a Med Gull. We added one butterfly to our list of two, when we saw a Speckled Wood.