I've been catching up with the latest entries on the Skokholm Island Blog, maintained by Richard and Giselle, the wardens for the past few years. A more welcoming and knowledgeable couple you could not wish to meet and it's sad that I wasn't able to get across in the past 12 months. I loved the evening bird logs held in the cottage, normally with a well stoked fire and a glass of something smoky. (sometimes the cottage too was smoky but that all added to the charm)
Still, keeping up to date with the daily comings and goings via the blog helps me to stay connected with the residents of the wonderful little island. My most recent perusal had me thinking about some of the images in my digital archive that remain untouched since their capture. Time to set those free.
Of course when thinking about Skokholm you invariably think about the islands most famous summer residents, the Atlantic Puffin. And for good reason. Both in terms of their behaviour (such charismatic birds) and the technical challenge of capturing them in flight (bloody faster than an Irishman at last orders) kept me transfixed for days on end. I loved to head out during the day, even without the camera, and just watch them barrel overhead in their hundreds.
It would, however, be wrong to simply think of Skokholm as 'Puffin' island, with vast numbers of both resident and migrant birds on show. If you manage to get to the island over a period with moonless evenings you could be treated to potentially thousands of Shearwaters coming ashore in relative safety. It's such an experience to be surrounded by the the noise and the flapping of wings. On one of my evenings I had the pleasure of accompanying two volunteers who were surveying the incoming birds. To see them up close was such a privilege and once again just listening to the knowledge of the volunteers was fantastic.
The following gallery is a small selection of images captured during visits in 2013 and 2014.
Fingers crossed to get back to the island, perhaps in 2017. Until then one last Puffin, and one of my favourites from the many hundreds shot over my two visits. It is really sad to think that these beautiful birds have recently been added to the ICUN Red List of Threatened Species. I've been trying to think how, in even a small way, I could help here and I've decided that 50% of any sales of my Puffin images will be sent to the folks on the island (most likely through the Friends of and Skomer and Skokholm). I'll be adding some additional Puffin images to my gallery over the next few weeks so now is your chance.