Author: Lyndsey Maiden

Skomer Island Field Worker

a group of puffins on skomer

We are looking for a committed and enthusiastic person to contribute to our seabird monitoring work on Skomer between mid-April and mid-August 2021.

The post is residential on the island and responsibilities include data collection, collation and analysis for seabird census and productivity projects within the Skomer management plan, in line with our contract specification from JNCC.  The post-holder will also carry out surveys and monitoring as directed by the warden and contribute to other island tasks including interpreting the island’s wildlife for visitors.

Salary: £16,370 p/a pro rata (accommodation also provided at no charge).

Dates: Contracted 12 April – 20 August 2021

Location: Skomer Island

Hours: 35 hour per week contract, including some anti-social hours; hours can be dictated by weather conditions and surveillance and monitoring of some species may require night work.

Deadline: 9am on Wednesday 10 February 2021.  Shortlisting will take place the following week; if you have not heard from us by the end of 17 February please assume you have not been successful. Interviews will take place 22/23 February 2021 by video conference.

Skomer Island Field Worker Job Description 2021

Application Form 

Application Word Version

For further information, contact Lisa Morgan by email l.morgan@welshwildlife.org leaving a contact telephone number.

Management Planning

Management planning guide by Mike Alexander

This is a simple step by step guide; it contains limited historical and other background information on management planning.

This is a guide. It is not a workshop manual or rule book. It is a source of advice, which should be used intelligently. No two sites or situations are exactly the same, and the advice given in this guide should be adapted or modified to meet the needs of any given circumstance.

Nature conservation management is not a science, but successful or effective conservation is entirely dependent on good science. Conservation mangers will often rely on the methods of science. Conservation management is the application of science and knowledge to achieve desirable outcomes. In addition to the objectivity of scientists, conservation managers require practical and communication skills: these are usually achieved through experience. Managers must be prepared to compromise and rely on judgement, as many of their decisions are based on limited information. (Bailey 1982).

You can download the full resource below

A guide to management planning by Mike Alexander

Management planning is the intellectual or ‘thinking’ component of the conservation management process. It is a dynamic, iterative process, it is about recognising the things that are important and making decisions about what we want to achieve and what we must do. Planning is about sharing this process with others so that we can reach agreement; it is about communication; it is about learning. Planning must be rather more about thinking and less about the production of elaborate, verbose documents. Planning should always come before management.

This resource is free and being made available to help anyone help wildlife, however if you are able to make a donation this helps protect even more wildlife.

Please Donate Now

Cardigan Golf Donation

Cardigan-Golf-Donation

Each year Cardigan Golf Club Lady Captain choses a charity to support and as this years Lady Captain, Pam Perry chose The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales – WTSWW as her charity for the year.

A fantastic £171 was raised in donations for WTSWW by the lady members during Lady Captain’s Day.

On Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre’s penultimate day before closing for the 2020 season our Living Seas Manager, Dr Sarah Perry was able to accept the donation on behalf of CBMWC and The Trust.

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Cardigan Golf Club Ladies section for supporting our vital marine conservation work in Cardigan Bay.

Pam has always been interested in the environment and in all types of wildlife.

Pam explained “when I became Lady Captain of Cardigan Golf Club it felt natural to pick WTSWW when choosing my charity for the year. I wanted to give a different type charity the benefit of any donations and help to raise awareness of the local marine environment.

Supporting the Trust in this way was also a fantastic opportunity to find out more about the local marine wildlife in the area”.

Wildlife Trust Officer Ceredigion

The postholder is responsible for the overall delivery of reserves management and reserves-based projects, core Trust work and wider countryside activities in Ceredigion.

Please fill in the application form

WTO Ceredigion Job Description

WTSWW Application Form

————————————————————————————————————————

Join our WILD family!

Post Details:

The post is for a 35-hour week, requiring flexibility to work some evenings and weekends if needed (we operate a flexible working system). Pay is £21,000 to £22,000 depending on experience. The post is subject to a 6-month probation period. A stakeholder pension is available. The post is located in the Aberystwyth area, and regular travel around the county will be necessary as well as occasional travel throughout the wider WTSWW area and across Wales.

A laptop, work vehicle and a mobile phone is provided. Annual leave starts at 20 days per year with another day for every year worked, up to a maximum of 25 days plus any additional leave days granted at the discretion of the Trustees.

The post holder will be required to follow organisational policies and procedures as laid down in the Staff Handbook, Health and Safety Handbook and by the Board of Trustees.

Job application closing date is 9.00am on 4th of January 2021 with interviews on the 14th of January 2021.

Finned, Flippered and feathered friends

Dolphins in Cardigan Bay Copyright Sarah Perry
 Dolphins in Cardigan Bay Copyright Sarah Perry

Bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay © Sarah Perry

I sit at my home office desk, looking out at a bright blue sky, not a cloud in the sky. It’s days like
these when the sun is shining, and the sea is flat calm that I really miss being out on the water in
Cardigan Bay.

Previously as a volunteer and now as part of my work with WTSWW I would ordinarily have been fortunate enough to spend time out on the water monitoring the marine wildlife that we see. This includes the internationally important population of bottlenose dolphins that we find off the Welsh coast, Atlantic grey seals, harbour porpoises as well as a multitude of seabirds nesting along the coastline. For me this is the first year since 2003 that I haven’t been able to do this. And it is the first year in almost 25 years that Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre (CBMWC) hasn’t been able to collect vital marine monitoring data.

Cardigan Bay Copyright Sarah Perry

Ceredigion coastline © Sarah Perry

Although I am sure, the last few months during lockdown have provided some much needed respite for nature, in certain areas at least. It appears that wildlife has enjoyed some breathing space from human activity, less car and boat traffic and fewer people have meant that we could enjoy the bird song all around us without even trying and the sea around our coasts and around the world have been much quieter.

Seal in Cardigan Bay Copyright Sarah Perry

Atlantic grey seal in Cardigan Bay © Sarah Perry

Having said that it’s not the case for all wildlife in all areas. In some parts of the world wildlife poaching has been rife in areas where the pandemic has led to reduced patrols and closer to home there has been a surge in anti-social behaviour on our nature reserves particularly since lockdown restrictions began to ease. It is also concerning the amount of litter that is starting to accumulate on our shores and beaches. Just when we were doing so well at becoming more environmentally aware, reducing our use of single use plastic, refusing, reusing, reducing and recycling we are having to consider using single use items such as face masks and gloves to remain safe and healthy and litter is once again appearing on the ground.

litter in Cardigan Bay Copyright Sarah Perry

litter in Cardigan Bay Copyright Sarah Perry

Concern also lies with the continued easing of lockdown, not only for our health and wellbeing but for the potential for disturbance. We must remember to be mindful of our surroundings once again and be particularly careful not to disturb wildlife. It’s important that we all play our part in helping to ensure wildlife remains undisturbed and our green and blue spaces remain litter free, as the phrase states “leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs”.

When the time is right, I look forward to heading back out on the water to resume our long term marine wildlife surveys and to catching up with old finned, flippered and feathered friends!

The Covid-19 pandemic poses many threats to both humans and wildlife, conservation organisation like WTSWW struggle for funding. Looking after our natural world has become harder than ever during the pandemic please consider making a donation to support our marine conservation work now and for the future.

Dr Sarah Perry, Living Seas Manager, The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

New report State of Nature 2019

State of Nature header showing decline in wildlife

State of Nature header showing decline in wildlife

No let-up in loss of Wales’ nature

Wales’ wildlife continues to decline according to the State of Nature 2019 report, with the latest findings showing that one in six species in Wales are at risk of extinction. Since rigorous scientific monitoring began in the 1970s, there’s been a 13% decline in average abundance across wildlife studied across the UK.

The State of Nature 2019 report reveals that of the 3,902 species assessed in Wales, 73 have been lost from Wales already, with birds like turtle doves and corn buntings now gone from Wales’ skies. A further 666 species are threatened with extinction in Wales.

Read more on our State of Nature Page

Shear brilliance for Pembrokeshire’s islands!

Manx-Shearwater---Dave-Boyle
Manx-Shearwater---Dave-Boyle

Manx Shearwater by Dave Boyle

Three small islands off the coast of Pembrokeshire are flying high this month, as the latest seabird census results indicate that they are now home to more than 50 per cent of the world’s entire Manx shearwater population.

It’s estimated that nearly a million breeding Manx shearwater adults reside on Skomer, Skokholm and Middleholm based on the monitoring work by The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW), the National Trust and the University of Oxford and University of Gloucestershire.

The survey was part of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s Seabirds Count census, and took place in June 2018.

It required a careful approach as Manx shearwaters nest in burrows, meaning the team had to watch their footing to ensure minimum disturbance to the fragile nests.

The monitoring work involved playing the seabird’s social call, which had been pre-recorded on an audio device, into a sample of burrows across the three islands. If a bird responded to the call then the burrow was recorded as active as part of the survey.

The census finished and on the boat back to Skomer by Ed Stubbings

The census finished and on the boat back to Skomer by Ed Stubbings

“It was a privilege to be part of the team who, by using a survey method which encouraged a higher proportion of nesting birds to make themselves known than ever before, helped to produce our best estimate yet of how many pairs of this remarkable seabird breed on these islands,” enthused Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle, wardens on WTSWW’s Skokholm Island.

Results suggest that there are nearly half-a-million breeding pairs in total across the internationally-important islands, with 89,000 on WTSWW’s Skokholm Island, 350,000 on WTSWW’s Skomer Island and 16,000 on Middleholm.

Speaking about the overall findings, the University of Gloucestershire’s Matt Wood, who helped coordinate the census, said: “Seabirds are in such trouble globally so this is great news internationally, not just in Wales – nearly a million breeding adults on these three small islands, and if you include the teenagers hanging around nearby and the chicks in their burrows in August you can almost double that number.

“That’s well over half the entire world’s population of Manx shearwaters, and it looks like they’re increasing steadily here.”

For the National Trust, the data is especially exciting for Middleholm as area ranger James Roden explained: “The 2018 census on Middleholm was the first time in 20 years that Manx shearwaters have been recorded on the tiny island, and it’s great to see that the population is much larger than we first thought.

“We hope to carry on working closely with the Wildlife Trust on more monitoring projects in the future, as well as towards the continued conservation work on Middleholm.”

The view across to Skomer Island from the top of Middleholm by James Roden

The view across to Skomer Island from the top of Middleholm by James Roden

 

The monitoring work was made possible through funding support from Natural Resources Wales, The Seabird Group, The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and National Trust.

Come Join Us in Cardigan

Ceredigion local group walk

Are you local to the Cardigan area?

Do you want to help your local wildlife, meet new people and learn new skills? The South Ceredigion Wildlife Group is looking for new members.

The South Ceredigion Wildlife Group is a local group based in Cardigan. The group is run entirely by volunteers and raises money for the Wildlife Trust’s local nature reserves.

Throughout the winter the group puts on talks from topical speakers on wildlife which are very well attended. They meet in the Catholic Church Hall in Cardigan on the first Wednesday of each month from September through to April. The group are looking for people to join them to help with organising these talks.

There are a variety of jobs available including: introducing the speaker at the monthly talks, assisting with group finance, assisting with co-ordinating talks and finding speakers, assisting with tea and coffee facilities at the meetings or just coming along with some new ideas.

Any contribution, large or small would be much appreciated!

The group’s AGM will be held at 7:30pm on Weds the 4th of April in Cardigan Catholic Church Hall. The AGM will be followed by a talk “The Plight of the Bumblebee” by Sinead Lynch of Bumblebee Conservation. All welcome! Come along to see what it’s all about.

If you’d like more information please contact the Welsh Wildlife Centre on 01239 621600 or email wwc@welshwildlife.org

Ceredigion local group walk

 

Volunteering on Skomer

Short term volunteers are required on Skomer Island from 21 March to 26 September inclusive.

We take up to six volunteers each week (Saturday to Saturday), to help with managing day visitors, assisting with overnight guests and their accommodation, conservation work including monitoring and surveys, and building maintenance.

You can find out more about what we expect from our volunteers by downloading:

2020 Skomer short term vol info

The minimum age is 16 years. You will need to be able to walk several miles carry luggage up a steep, long, flight of steps several times a day. You need to enjoy working outside in all weather conditions including strong sunshine, heavy rain, cold and strong winds.

You will need to be happy talking to members of the public, have a cheerful and customer friendly approach to sometimes difficult situations. When the island is closed to visitors you will be helping out on the reserve. This may include maintenance of buildings and control of vegetation.

Applying to be  a volunteer

Applications are accepted from September for volunteering positions in the following year (application deadline 30th September). Positions are allocated in October. Some spaces may become available over the winter. To be added to the cancellation list, please complete an application form and send to the email address below.

Please download and read the short-term volunteer information before applying. If you’d like to apply please complete an application from below and send to skomer.volunteer@welshwildlife.org by 30th September. Applications by post, or by CV, cannot be considered.

2020 Skomer Short Term Application Form – Word doc

2020 Skomer Short Term Application Form – PDF

If you have any queries on this please phone the booking office on 01656 724100 or email Islands

Return to the Visiting and Staying on Skomer and Skokholm main islands page

Skokholm Long Term Volunteers

Skokholm Island
Giselle, Skokholm Island Warden, admiring the view

Admiring the view over Skokholm

Each season we invite four volunteers to come to Skokholm and help the Wardens manage the Island and monitor its wildlife. There are two positions running from 1st April 2020 until 30th June 2020 and two from 1st July 2020 until 30th September 2020.

1st April until 30th June
1st July until 30th September

Spring is a fantastic time to be on Skokholm.

Yes it can be cold and yes it can be wet, but suddenly there are signs everywhere that breeding seasons are fast approaching. Dark nights see the first of our 175,000 breeding Manx Shearwaters return to the Island and quickly the nights become a cacophony of whaling noises.

The first spring migrants begin to pass Skokholm and the Puffins return (from when our evenings are spent counting the large rafts which congregate around the Island). The Razorbills and Guillemots return to their cliff ledges and the gulls begin to lay their eggs. Days are spent counting the nesting seabirds and seeing how the totals fluctuate each day and nights are spent taking guests to see the phenomenal Storm Petrel colony at the Quarry. Moth trapping and the morning census of migrant and resident birds provide a break from the seabird monitoring.

Choughs are secretive around their nests and the staff thus find themselves hidden among the rocks to look for incubation changeovers. The Peregrines and Ravens are more straightforward, as is the mapping of the vocal Oystercatchers.

Much of our time is spent establishing study plots and, as the spring progresses, monitoring a sample of each breeding species; this will be the basis of our productivity estimates. All this, coupled with a long-term Puffin colour ringing study, a study of Manx Shearwater survival rates and the daily ringing of passage birds sees the staff flat out.

Our second team of long-term volunteers pick up where the first team left off.

The productivity monitoring plots are established and the chicks have hatched, but we need to follow the progress of the Fulmar, Razorbill, Puffin and gull chicks to see if they fledge. A large amount of time early on in the period is spent playing Storm Petrel song along several transects, thus allowing an estimate of crevice occupancy to be made. The staff take turns during several 24 hour periods to assess how many of the Puffins arrive with fish.

Many more visits are made to the Puffin study colony to try and see as many colour ring combinations as possible. If the weather behaves, evenings are spent ringing adult Storm Petrels which often goes on until the early hours. Attention turns to the Manx Shearwaters in August with visits being made to our study plots to ring the chicks and monitor their development and fledging.

Autumn migration picks up pace as August progresses and the daily census begins to take longer as the number of birds lurking around the Island increases. If the pond has dried out then there could be several days of hard digging as we continue to remove the sediment which has built up over the decades. September is an exciting month and much time is spent in the field counting common migrant birds and searching for scarcer ones.


This is a fantastic opportunity to work on one of Britain’s most spectacular Islands and to gain experience in a wide range of survey techniques. But it is not all about the monitoring work! The successful applicants will be integral to all aspects of Island management, from providing sanitation and clean visitor accommodation to helping with boat deliveries and physical management such as pond digging. Skokholm relies on bigger groups of volunteers for managing its infrastructure but your help will be needed too; in the spring work concentrates on getting the accommodation ready for guests (so lots of cleaning, painting and lime-washing), whilst in the autumn work usually focusses on the Lighthouse and vehicles.

Each volunteer has their own bedroom at the Farm and share the same facilities as our paying guests; we are thus looking for people who are happy to spend time with our guests and share their passion for the phenomenal things which inhabit Skokholm.

No qualifications or specific experience are required as training will be given on the Island, however candidates who are working towards a career in conservation are preferred. Additionally candidates who have previous volunteering experience, island experience or relevant qualifications such as a ringing permit or who are experienced birders will be well placed. We are looking for people with enthusiasm for UK wildlife who have a desire to learn and get involved in a range of tasks. Candidates must be of a hardy nature as working days can be long and in a range of weather conditions.

How to apply

Please fill in the application form explaining why you are interested in the post, what you could bring to it and what you hope to achieve from the position. No cover letters or CVs will be included as part of your application.

Application forms can be downloaded here.

Applications must reach the below address by email or post by 10th February 2020.

Decisions will be made within the following two weeks and candidates short-listed for phone interviews will be contacted.

Please e-mail (or post) your application forms to:

Giselle and Richard

Email skokholmwarden@gmail.com or mail

Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

Welsh Wildlife Centre

Cilgerran, Cardigan, SA43 2TB