Skokholm in August

Skokholm Cliffs by Mike Alexander

Skokholm Cliffs by Mike Alexander

Convolvulvous Hawk Moth taken by Skokholm Warden

Convolvulvous Hawk Moth taken by Skokholm Warden

Seen here are some of the Skokholm Warden's daily blog entries. The full blog can be found here.

7th August
The highlight of a gloriously sunny, but increasingly windy day was a Basking Shark watched as it cruised east past the Lighthouse. The last Skokholm record was almost exactly a year ago, on the 11th.

14th August
It was a cracking, eerily calm day on Dream Island. The dawn broke with a minimum of 18 Common Dolphin off the Lighthouse and at least four Risso’s Dolphin were in Broad Sound. Birds logged included the first Snipe of the autumn on North Pond (one day later than the first autumn record of last year), the first Grasshopper Warbler of the autumn (over a month earlier than the sole autumn record of 2015) and the first Goldcrest of the autumn (one day earlier than the first of autumn 2015). A Storm Petrel ringing session last night saw 80 birds handled, one in seven of which was already wearing a ring and one of which had been ringed in the Channel Islands.

17th August
There had been 14 species of wader logged this week, and today we added two Golden Plover to take the total to 15. However North Pond, the focus of so much wader activity this week, has now almost completely disappeared. With this in mind, we set to work on our annual dredging operation; every year we try to remove some of the masses of sediment which accumulate in the pond each year. Today we managed to shift seven dumper truck loads of silt and open up a nice scrape which this evening filled with water (attracting two Ruff and a Ringed Plover by tea time).

20th August
A really quite wild day promised a bit in the way of seawatching action. The sea was spectacular, the 37260 Manx Shearwater logged in three hours was impressive, but the scarcer birds failed to materialise. Eight Storm Petrel were thus the highlight (seven in the morning, one in the evening), a species rarely encountered on a Skokholm seawatch (despite the fact that around 4000 visit Skokholm on a night).

25th August
In contrast to yesterday’s glorious weather, a chilly and overcast start to the day made it feel rather autumnal. As we eagerly birded the Island to see what was about it soon became apparent that nothing much had lingered from yesterday. Whilst the avian front seemed comparatively quiet (and there was no sign of the Red-backed Shrike) the morning census was boosted by the second Convolvulous Hawk Moth of the year, found resting in the Well Heligoland Trap and marking only the fourth documented record of this fantastic super-sized species on Skokholm following singles in 1940 and 2014.

To book a stay on Skokholm, AKA the dream island, please contact islands@welshwildlife.org or 01656 724100.