Another catch up post...
Over the Bank Holiday Weekend we headed down to Pembrokeshire and stayed a few nights before heading onto Skomer to spend the night, so I will start with our days out first. Day 1 we decided to do the circular walk at Stackpole along the coastal path to Bosherston and then inland around the lakes back to the car.
There were plenty of Pipits about:
with both Rock and Meadow, Wheatear and Stonechat on the meadows at the cliff tops. Fulmar were seen patrolling the cliffs as they do, along with Lesser & Great Black Backed Gull and Herring Gull of course. But very few photo opportunities until this Heron posed on the lakes down near Bosherston:
We met Jo & Jimmy at Bosherton before heading back, with just this Buzzard giving one last chance to use the camera:
Next day we went for another coastal walk, this time from Marloe Marshes to Martin Haven and back stopping at the hide at the Marshes on the way back to avoid the rain!
Of note were Wheatears,
These Swallows surely ready to fledge,
A Dunnock posed
and this Kestrel put on a little show
So next day up early and off to Skomer taking all our food and bedding with us. As we boarded the boat the heavens opened and by the time we had crossed, unloaded our stuff, loaded the departing groups stuff, climbed the 85 steps, then trekked to the accommodation we were soaked, despite our waterproofs! After settling in we decide to brave the rain and head out to the hide in the centre of the island, not much to see as the rain was relentless and the wind had got up so it was just sweeping in in sheets, not great for viewing birds or photography, but here are a couple from the hide:
We gave up and headed back to the digs and decided to have a relax until the weather cleared, which it eventually did and lo and behold the sun came out, so off we set for a walk......
The rabbits were now out soaking up the sun whilst it lasted:
Skomer holds the largest population of Manx Shearwaters in the world, approximately 600,000, but being poorly designed for a life on land the adults spend all day out at sea and only come back in the dark, to feed their young, when they are safe from the predatory Gulls. The chicks are safe in their burrows so again no sign during the day. So after dinner and in the dark (and rain again!) we set off to meet up with the wardens and researchers. We had a couple of great talks by two PhD students, who are researching the Shearwaters after which we went out, (thankfully the rain had stopped) with our torches covered in red tape so as not to alarm the birds. As regards photography it was pitch black, but we were allowed one flash photograph between us per bird that we found, so here are a couple of mine:
I have to add whilst walking around we have never seen so many toads in one place on our lives, they didn't mind having a photo taken!