MARTIN’S HAVEN & SKOMER ISLAND Well, what a fantastic day we had perfect weather, it was sunny all day a cooling breeze, as we walked through stunning scenery in breath-taking landscapes. The wild flowers, the colours and the close proximity of thousands of birds make Skomer something really special.
It was dull and overcast with rain earlier as we set off from our hotel in Haverfordwest at 9am. After a quick stop to pick up picnic supplies we were on our way to Martin’s Haven to board our boat, the Dale Princess, to Skomer Island. Before boarding we watched Red-billed Chough, Common Whitethroat, Linnets, Barn Swallows and a Wren.
Martin's Haven and our boat the 'Dale Princess'
The crossing was perfect, a calm sea and a very enjoyable journey, we saw Puffin, Guillemot and Razorbill in the water all around us as we approached skomer. The walk up from the landing stage is very steep but we took our time watching hundreds of Puffins in very close proximity to the path it was a fantastic ‘welcome’ from the island’s most adorable inhabitants.
The bay where the landing stage is on Skomer, great colours in the morning sunlight
We had 5 hours in which to explore the likes of Garland Stone, Bull Hole, Pigstone Bay, Skomer Head and The Wick. We did exactly that, it took 4 ½ hours with a lunch break and we had a terrific birding session. We saw all that the island had to offer including views of the breeding Short-eared Owl in flight, Eurasian Curlews, Oystercatchers, Meadow Pipits, Northern Wheatears, Common Whitethroat, Sedge Warblers, Meadow Pipits and lots of Wrens.
The group walk to Skomer Head
Razorbills and a Guillemot
All three 'Auks' found on Skomer
The breeding seabirds were spectacular especially the numbers, there are now over 11,000 pairs of Puffins breeding this year, many of them were feeding chicks, we saw tha adults arriving with beaks full of Sand Eels. Of course there was a lot of evidence of the breeding Manx Shearwaters of which there are now 300,000 pairs! An incredible number and the biggest shearwater colony in the world, we saw lots of carcasses but no live birds.
Red-billed Chough were few and far between, we saw a few Common Ravens, lots of breeding Lesser Black-backed Gulls and the menacing Great Black-backed Gulls. A few European Shags were sewn on the rocks and at the ‘Wick’ we finally got to see hundreds of Black-legged Kittewakes on the nest with god numbers of Northern Fulmars too.
But it was the Puffins that stole the show they are so comical looking and allow such close approach they are just adorable characters.We left the island at 4:15 and headed back to the hotel after watching a family of Barn Swallows and some nice Eurasian Linnets in Martin’s Haven near the car park.
Barn Swallow fledglings