Friday, 27 July 2018

49 with one blow...

For anyone who hasn't followed my previous Skomer Island of dreams escapades. I volunteer on the island for a week every summer and try to see 50 species of bird within the week, whilst living on the island. The past two years have ended at 49 species.

This was my first year having a car so I traveled down early on the Sunday to Martin's Haven, leaving my faithful companion Whitney in the safe hands of West Hook Camp Site.

I sailed over on the ever trusty Dale Princess, featuring my fave sticker.

I was staying in Glowworm with my new buddy and keen eyed photographer 'Tog Kevin. I made up my trusty Monkey and Toy truck bed, and set off to find Kev at the Wick.

Got my first close-ups of the Puffins. The highlight of the day was getting the Cuckoo in the scope right up on top of the cliffs at the Wick, very strange behavior perhaps scoping out to leave? I also managed to finally get my first Puffling Swoon!

The following day the island is closed to visitors for work-party Monday, which usually means some pretty intense Scything duties, and this Monday was no different tackling some invasive and colossal Willow-herb patches, over seven feet tall in the boiling sunshine. Character building shall we say.

The water was in short supply due to the long hot summer so there was a shower ban and compost loo's only. As anyone who knows me will tell you, sea baths everyday is music to my ears especially with a cold tin of cider as a reward for scything duty.

The following evening after duties Kev and I decided to try an photograph the Short-eared Owl. I was tasked with finding, spotting and creative direction, whilst Kev was on camera duty. Here is the result I was pretty pleased with it to be honest.

The following evening during bird log I was invited to go out and finally see one of me dream birds Storm Petrel as they were going to be ringing birds at one of the small colonies. We climbed down some rocks at 1030 at night in complete darkness, where we sat and waited by moonlight a little way from the mist nets. The sky was particularly clear and very very starry due to low levels of light pollution. One of the data entry volunteers was kind enough to point out Mars, Saturn including rings and Jupiter including Moons through binoculars and amazing view of Milky way also. About quarter passed midnight after only catching a rogue Puffin, during what was going to be our final net check we finally had not 1 but 5 Stormies!

Under red torchlight I got my first glimpse of these dreamy little tiny sea birds. We got to watch whist they were given a check over, wings measured, brood patches examined and two out of the 5 were new captures so we got to see them being ringed. I also was lucky enough to hold, smell and release one totally dreamy.

The smell I would say is like the love potions in Harry Potter it smells different depending on the recipient. I got earthy, metallic musky and a wee bit floral, but utterly lush! A totally unforgettable evening so thanks again to all involved. Then to walk back under starlight, whilst thousands of Manxies fly in calling...

The following evening I was out in the hide desperately trying to find a Mallard as I was approaching my target with some 'should be easy' birds for the island, still outstanding due to the lack of water the ponds had dried up meaning ducks had vanished... When I was about to leave a swallow was trying to come in through one of the hide flaps to its nest and I was lucky enough to snap this amazing photo through the hide flap.

A fab week with these legends, thanks all...

Guess what I ended on species wise...

Yep you guessed it 49 third year in a row, but with Stormy as a lifer for me under the belt I won't be too disheartened another incredible week. I decided to commemorate the occasion for #CrudelyDrawnBirds

Take Care

No comments:

Post a Comment