I have arrived on Skomer Island for my second field season!
After several days of madly biking around Sheffield sorting things out in the Easter sunshine, transporting everything in my bedroom into the cellar to let my room out, and saying goodbye to wonderful friends, I eventually managed to wedge all the fieldwork equipment and waterproof trousers into Gwithian (my lovely car) and head off. Traffic from Sheffield to Gloucestershire was awful, but the wonders of speakerphone meant I enjoyed some last minute catch ups with friends while stuck in traffic. I spent the night at my parent’s house and set off for Martins Haven early this morning. I picked up a large pane of double-glazing for the island library on my way, and using my mad Tetris skillz I managed to squeeze it into Gwithian.
Leighton (the visitor officer), Bryony (a volunteer) and Eddie (one of the wardens) met me at Lockley Lodge, where they kindly helped to unpack everything and lug it onto the boat. They almost convinced me that the tractor was broken, and that I would need to wheelbarrow everything from the boat landing to The Farm (researcher’s accommodation)… fortunately we were met by more kind helpers at the boat landing who helped to haul everything up the 80-odd steps to the tractor.
Everything on the boat! With someone elses Tesco order – unfortunately that Stella would not have fitted in my car!
View of Skomer from the boat
The drive along the country lanes from Haverfordwest was lovely, and the view of Skomer from the boat was as dramatic as ever. There are so many reminders of the larks and japes we had last year! Copies of The Week magazine that my mum kindly posted out to me regularly last year are yellowing in the window ledge, the happy birthday banner we bought for Cat’s birthday is still in the drawer, and her greater black-backed gull cake decoration is above the sink. Sophia’s vomit-saving Kwells tablets are still here, alongside the ridiculous ‘Mr Happy’ apron and chef’s hat we gave to Alastair, and Julie’s (empty) pot of fancy coffee. I wish you were all here again!
I’ve written a very long list of things I need to be getting on with in this first week and I’m excited to get started. I intend to blog more frequently than last year, but we’ll see how that goes… internet at The Farm isn’t working yet, so for internet access I need to head to North Haven (the library and warden’s accommodation) where it is working faster than ever – apparently you can even watch YouTube videos!
Bird of the day: A hoopoe! They have an undulating flight, and they call sounds like ‘hoo-poe’, surprisingly enough. Hoopoe’s don’t tend to breed in the UK, but are spotted in the south of the UK as they migrate north from Africa to Europe. They nest in cavities in vertical surfaces, like trees, cliffs or walls, so are found breeding in a variety of habitats.