A few updates from Skokholm Island...
With only the five staff left on the Island it was a perfect opportunity to give everything a good old mid-season clean, getting things looking great for our next set of guests (who will hopefully be able to arrive on Tuesday looking at the current forecast). The stiff winds again failed to produce much variety in the way of seabirds, with totals for the day coming to 36900 Manx Shearwater, 330 Gannet, six Cormorant, 31 Common Scoter, 33 Kittiwake, a Sandwich Tern, four Guillemot, three Razorbill and 128 Puffin (with 24 fish deliveries logged to the west side of Crab Bay in five hours of morning observations). Other birds logged today included 26 Oystercatcher, two Curlew, a Sand Martin, 19 Wheatear (we heard today that one of the colour ringed juveniles was seen on Skomer yesterday evening), ten Sedge Warbler, three Willow Warbler and 12 Starling.
Although Rabbit numbers are at the lowest they have been in the last five years, indeed at some of the lowest levels since Lockley tried to remove them in the late 1920s, there are still all the usual oddities around. Black ones are still common around the Lighthouse, there are several ‘dutch’ bunnies, one that looks rather like Donald Trump’s spare wig is near East Bog and there are a few of these guys. © Richard Brown
A very sizable swell dropped as the day progressed, allowing us to get in a changeover boat in the early afternoon. Given how rough the forecast is for the next few days (and that they had flights out of the country booked for Tuesday), this weekends’ guests decided not to come out on this occasion, meaning that (rather unusually for this time of year) there are only the five of us left on the Island (R and G, Katy, Holly and Jacob). Birds logged included 211 Gannet, three Cormorant, 57 Common Scoter, three Whimbrel, four Curlew, three Turnstone, three Mediterranean Gull, only eight Guillemot, three Razorbill and 54 Puffin, 21 Wheatear, 33 Sedge Warbler, a Whitethroat, a Chiffchaff, 15 Willow Warbler, 11 Starling and two Goldfinch. At least 19 Common Dolphin were again below the Lighthouse. Common Dolphin are currently a daily occurrence below the Lighthouse. © Richard Brown
Despite occasional poor visibility, a wild day seemed like it might continue our recent run of reasonable seawatching. It was certainly impressive, with a huge rolling sea and, as the day went on, tens of thousands of Manx Shearwaters streaming past. The scarcer seabirds failed to materialise however, although it was still nice to see two Storm Petrel (a surprisingly scarce sight given the fact that over 2000 pairs nest here), 48 Fulmar (most of the chicks on the cliffs are currently alone for much of the day as both adults collect food), 214 Gannet, nine Common Scoter and a small number of Guillemot (including a youngster with dad). Other birds logged included a Ringed Plover, a Dunlin, 18 Whimbrel, six Curlew, 14 Pied Wagtail, two Willow Warbler and two Goldfinch. Most of the working day was spent in the office, digitising this year’s ringing records.
Skokholm Seas - Jason Peterken
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