Thursday, 3 August 2017


Skokholm Island

A group of five from the ringing group went to Skokholm Island bird observatory for four days.
We set off on the Sunday to stay at a lovely B&B near to Martin Haven. There was a possibility that we would get an early crossing to the island on Monday morning, however en route to Wales I received a call from the warden Richard stating the crossing would be delayed until 1630hrs because of the weather.
Monday came and we managed to get across to the island where we were greeted by Richard, Giselle, Katy, Holly and Jacob.

After a briefing from Richard we were shown the nets, Heligoland traps and other equipment. That evening we were planning to catch Storm Petrels at the South Haven so we helped to erect a couple of nets near to the landing area.

It was an excellent evening catching and processing over 260 Storm Petrels and for some a new experience of extracting birds from nets in the dark. We were in bed by about 3.30 am and then up again at 0600 opening the other nets near to the buildings and ringing the smaller birds on the island.

Ringing Hut

Cottage Heligoland

Tuesday evening we were due to catch more Storm Petrels but due to the high wind we had to cancel. So we had an early night.

Wednesday was a bit of a wash out with very little ringing carried out until the evening
when we caught Manxies. We spent some of the dry time trying to find Puffin chicks in their burrows. But were unfortunately unsuccessful.

From about 23.30 -02.30 we were out catching Manx Shearwater, either by hand or in a small hand net. These are fantastic birds that breed on the island in their 10's of thousand, and then after raising their chick, fly south towards South America.

 We manged to process 47 birds.

Thursday was again a windy day with very little mist netting carried out. However we did manged to catch a few juvenile Lesser Black Backed Gull by hand, which was a new species for some of the group and more Manxies in the evening.

 Friday was another wet day with next to no ringing carried out. However Kate did manage to catch one of the elusive Wheatear that had been teasing us by not taking the bait in the spring traps. Although the day was wet we did mange to see other occupants of the island. The wind, swell and tide prevented us from getting off the island  today.

Saturday was a beautiful day although again too windy to open all the mist nets.
Peter had brought his whoosh net over onto the island and had had a couple of unsuccessful attempts at catching gulls(they were too weary of the net). But this morning he manged to catch a 2nd year Jackdaw. By lunchtime we were packed and transferring our luggage to the jetty.
Putting the bad weather conditions aside (which definitely restricted our mist netting and Storm Petrel catch) we all had a fantastic time on the island and were very sad to leave. 

Our thanks to Richard and Giselle for their assistance and hospitality.  (Pub quizzes will never be the same).

 In total we processed 550 birds of which 260 were Storm Petrels and 140 were Manx Shearwaters.

Dawn, Kate, Stuart, Peter and myself.