Yesterday was the last of this year’s 3 ‘experimental’ special day trips to Skomer Island. The island is closed to day visitors on Mondays (except bank holidays), so the Wildlife Trust decided to try a special trip limited place (just 15 people) trip with a guide (me) which leaves the island staff to enjoy their day off, catch up with paperwork, survey work etc. It seems fair to say the trips have been a success – all 3 sold out (with people on waiting lists for cancellations), we had good luck with the weather, and the feedback has been really positive. The groups have been fantastic, really interested in knowing that ‘bit extra’ about the birds and the island, and also appreciating seeing a few more species than they otherwise might if they did the usual day trip without a guide. They also taught me a thing or two…always learning. To top it all, the short talks at the end of each trip by the researchers (thanks especially to Ollie), finding out amazing things about Manx Shearwaters, have been so appreciated – not everyone gets to hear and see Manx research first hand!
Yesterday’s trip was again blessed with good weather, with highlights including excellent views of up to 3 Short-eared Owls, lots of chicks/fledglings of various species (my favourite being the Guillemot chick in North Haven), a Peregrine perched in a tricky-to-see spot just before we left the island, and a Curlew (part of the only Pembrokeshire breeding pair?) calling for all it’s worth just west of the farm. The subtleties of Meadow & Rock Pipit identification were also appreciated, as was the lesson in large gull identification! Cannot wait for these trips in 2015….perhaps as many as 7 in the pipeline. In the meantime, why not consider joining me for the autumn migration special on 14th-16th September? More details here.