The Puffins Come Home

On Skokholm and Skomer Islands this time of year is always waited for with bated breath for this is when the many thousands of birds start coming home to breed. 

Puffin at sea

Up to 5,000 pairs of Puffin breed on Skokholm.

For anyone who has not visited either of the islands it can be hard to imagine what a bird paradise these places are. Free of rats and hedgehogs the bird populations are of massive sizes, with the Manx shearwater (1MB) population being the largest in the world. When all the these wonderful, noisy, sociable and argumentative birds arrive back the islands really come to life and they start to feel like Skomer and Skokholm again.

At the start of April the puffins came back onto the islands after spending a few days rafting out at sea they are great characters and you cannot help but smile when you see and hear a puffin. 

The Manx shearwaters arrived back a little earlier, these incredible maritime birds have spent the winter feeding off the coast of Argentina not touching land until they arrive back and the volcanic hillsides and sandstone cliffs of Skomer and Skokholm. 

As puffins and other sea birds have been suffering in the east of Britain our birds seem to be as numerous as ever, that blessed Gulf Stream keeping the seas rich in food and the temperatures at a bearable level.

A couple of very late (or very early) seal pups were some surprise arrivals, you can listen again to an interview with Dave Boyle about the seals of Skomer Island on our podcasts.

There are still places available to stay on the islands and you can find out more here.