Why August is a magical month for Skomer Island

Skomer Island by Drew Buckley

Skomer Island by Drew Buckley

August is a special time of year on Skomer, the island team have a chance to take a breath before seal pupping season takes hold. When everywhere else of the mainland is busy with school holiday mania, Skomer becomes a quiet getaway, a chance to see some beautiful scenery while taking a lovely wildlife walk.

The puffins have gone but there are still some seabirds to see. Kittiwake chicks fledge at the beginning of August and Fulmars will still have chicks on the seabird cliffs until the end of the month. They may look like gulls but Fulmars are more closely related to an Albatross or our very own Manx shearwaters. If you’re lucky you can see an adult Fulmar feeding a chick on one of the seabird cliff ledges. Watching the unmistakable flight of the Fulmars as they play in the wind is spectacular, as shown in this lovely photo taken by wildlife photographer Drew Buckley.

Fulmar by Drew Buckley

 

During August grey seals will be gathering around the island and the first pups are usually born by the beginning of the month. It is fascinating to watch their behaviour as seal mums stay close to their pups for the first three weeks of their lives. Meanwhile the large male bull seals are never too far from the females, defending their territories and the chance to mate.

An immature grey seal basking on the rocks at low tide

 

As well as this there are always other island residents to look out for. Chough and Peregrines can be found anywhere around the island. It is always special to see these highly protected schedule one birds. Ravens start to gather in larger numbers, their familiar call echoing overhead as they fly by. The Skomer rabbits are something a bit unusual too. As well as the usual brown rabbits you may see a variety of black or black and white ones. Essential for conservation grazing on the island they are also a firm favourite with the visitors and residents.

A pair of chough: these birds remain together even after the breeding season is over

A black and white rabbit close to the farm