Monday, 13 August 2018

Skomer May 2018

Today I'm going over to Skomer to see the Puffins ,  Jan is staying with the dogs as they are not allowed on the island.   It has been quite windy so the Skomer boats didn't sail at the weekend, Monday  or yesterday (Tuesday) so it will be busy today.
There are only three sailings a day over to the island on the Dale Princess , max 50 people on the boat , first at 10 am, But the ticket office opens at 8 am so I need to get there quite early to get in the que for a ticket.   Arriving at 7 am  to find the car park already half full was a bit surprising!   I think there must be well over 50 people ahead of me , which means I will probably be on the second 11 am boat!  Arghhhhh   a long wait then.  As it turns out , they are putting an extra 2 boats on today ,  and I haven't even got on the second boat!!  
    It appears that people are getting loads of tickets for friends who just come down later , and one person bought 30 for a group of students!!!!!!   That is totally unfair  !!!!!           if you want a ticket everyone should que in person!!!    

Anyhow, I now have to wait until 11am for the third sailing , so a walk up over the headland is in order to see if I can photograph any birds.

          The wild flowers are looking fabulous, and I can see them carpeting the island from here!

                                                                        A Stonechat
                                                 cropped from 5dsr file shot with 100-400L

                                              looking across to Skokholm in the distance.

                                         Its going to be a glorious day over there, and hot!

                                                  Time to head back to get the boat now.

I am now on Skomer , the bluebells are late this year and still in full bloom , they look fabulous, and along with the pink campion the island is very colourful,  didn't see any of this last time I came .

I have managed to get ahead of everyone else and making a fast walk to get to the "Wick"  which is the main Puffin area , although since we have had a cold late spring they are late this year and therefore their eggs have not hatched yet ,so there will not be as many around . the wardens did mention due to bad weather last few days they have not been able to go out feeding , so most of them will be out today in the good conditions.

I have just spotted my first Puffin , just down from this path. I am crouching low to try get a decent composition with the wild flowers and using f5.6 to blur the background.

    The bright sun is just too strong for photographing these birds, its going to be difficult to get anything decent I fear!

                                     Carrying on walking past a load of beautiful pink Campion .

Arriving at the "Wick"   there are very few Puffins, at least compared to last time when they were constantly bringing back food for their chicks.       Along this cliff edge a few were coming in to land after coming back from feeding.       I used a 17-40 wide angle to shoot this panorama image.

                                                                 Canon  5dsr  100-400L

        There are hundreds of Puffin burrows everywhere ,the Wardens give a talk after departing the boat about not walking off the paths !    this one popped up out of a hole right next to me  ,  I had my 100mm macro lens on a 5dmk2 for this image as the tiny bird was only a foot away.

The bright sun in a cloudless sky is terrible for photography, I have given up shooting the Puffins now and am going to walk around the island, firstly to stop of at a point further around to sit and eat lunch.   passing glorious fields of blue and pink.

                             I remember this spot from last time, a great place to sit for a while .
                                                        Pigstone bay I think its called.

Continuing around heading to the far side of the island,  the warden mentioned that Short Eared Owls have been regularly seen in this area.  it would be great to see one .

              This is a beautiful walk in the sunshine, the colours make the island look so beautiful.

 I have just seen an Owl quartering along the ridge ,below image. It then dived down onto something!

            Enough of that moment of excitement,  now heading through pink carpets of Campion.

I have just noticed a couple of people watching something through binoculars.  somewhere behind those rocks!

                                     Yay   an Owl just sitting amongst the flowers on a rock :)

Almost time to head back to the boat landing now,  its usually a good place to see Razorbills and also more Puffins.

            Below me is the boat landing and to the left there are indeed a couple of Razorbills .  and also quite a few Puffins both on the water and flying past , it might be good to see if I can get an in flight shot.

                                        One of , if not the most elegant of seabirds, a Razorbill.
                                                                    5dsr  100-400mm L

                                                                         Puffin in flight

                                     A huge crop from a 5dsr file , thanks to 50mp sensor  lol

                                  Finally ,this is my favourite image from Skomer , another Razorbill .

                        Here comes the boat , goodbye Skomer , its been great to see you again .

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