Here are some great galleries from recent participants on Skomer Island
The workshop on Skomer Island yesterday was memorable for a number of reasons. The forecast the night before was terrible but there is always the chance that the showers would miss us! Remarkably, and to my great relief, the day started with sunshine and no wind and we made our way to the Wick to make sure that we spent as much time photographing the puffins before a storm passed through. The bluebells in South Stream Valley were glorious with pink campion coming through strongly and the air filled with song of warblers.
There were plenty of puffins at the Wick and the faces of the group were beaming with smiles as they couldn’t believe how close the birds were. The rain started around 1pm and we sheltered in Moorey Mere hide as one of the heaviest rain storms that I have ever seen lashed the island.
An hour later and the skies cleared and the wind had picked up making spectacular flying conditions for the fulmars and puffins. These gave great opportunities to learn how to capture birds in flight. The slopes were covered in hundreds of puffins as the rain and wind had brought them back to land where many were busy collected new nesting material as many burrows would have been temporarily flooded by the deluge. A puffin pair were seen mating but this is probably far too late to be successful in raising a chick.
The Skomer Photography Workshops kicked off last Thursday and the rain cleared after the intro talk at the farmhouse and the sun shone for the rest of the day. Numerous puffins posed for us at the Wick with many pairs rubbing their bills to reinforce their bond. A few were opening and closing their beaks in a threat display to humans as well as doing a comical foot-stomp near a burrow to show that this was their territory. The bluebells have started to flower already, a full five weeks before last year and about three weeks before an average year. The fulmars performed a masterclass in aerial flight, providing the perfect opportunity for the group to practice in-flight shots with the Atlantic grey seals were hauled-out below them on the beach in North Haven. Many thanks to Lynne, Laura, Andrea and Chris for their great company.
We are delighted to announce that Skokholm Island will be running a fully catered week, between Monday 5th May and Monday 12th May 2014, during which we will be joined by entomologist John Harper.
The study of certain invertebrate groups has become very popular in the last few years, with ever improving literature allowing more and more people to get to grips with butterflies, moths and dragonflies. But in terms of invertebrate study, these groups are just the very tip of an enormous creepy crawly iceberg. John specialises in the groups studied far less frequently, from spiders to snails and from woodlice to ants. These groups contain species which have bizarre and incredible life histories unlike anything encountered in the birds, seals and cetaceans recorded each day by the staff of Skokholm Bird Observatory. But John is not just great at finding and identifying a huge range of invertebrates, he also has an infectious enthusiasm for teaching and sharing the amazing world of invertebrates.
We will then put our trapping techniques to good use, and what better place to look at invertebrates than on one of Britain’s most spectacular and beautiful Islands. Skokholm, famed for its 90,000 Manx Shearwaters, Storm Petrels nesting in the walls around the buildings, Puffins, cliff-nesting seabirds and as the site of Britain’s first Bird Observatory, is also home to a wonderful variety of invertebrates specialised to live on an Island. In among the stunning Bluebells and carpets of Thrift, live specialists which have evolved some truly amazing strategies to allow for mating and dispersal. John will show you a world which is almost unbelievable, and show you it in a way which will have you captivated.