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socksitis
Sunday 11th July 2010, 11:09
Have a chance to get to Skomer in a fortnight, have looked at departure times from Martin's Haven, will there be any puffins around at this time?
All advice greatly appreciated

gowerboy
Tuesday 13th July 2010, 16:45
I have replied on your other post :-)

Charlie Sargent
Sunday 18th July 2010, 18:17
Have a chance to get to Skomer in a fortnight, have looked at departure times from Martin's Haven, will there be any puffins around at this time?
All advice greatly appreciated

Just got back from Skomer last night after spending a week on there

The Puffins are already departing but I think you will still have a few about for at least another week or two. The Razorbills have nearly all gone and the Guillmots are also leaving.

socksitis
Tuesday 27th July 2010, 20:56
Got on the island had a brilliant day and saw plenty - and the sun shone

Charlie Sargent
Saturday 31st July 2010, 20:49
Got on the island had a brilliant day and saw plenty - and the sun shone

Glad you enjoyed it, some good pictures to see?

naturenutz
Thursday 24th February 2011, 19:46
Hi,I have a few days booked to stay overnight on skomer island in late april :t:.
Does anyone no if the short eared owls are resident all year round or if they will be here in late april ? If anyone has stayed over i would be grateful for any advice on essentials etc to take.
Thanks in advance for any replies.
regards
vic

Charlie Sargent
Thursday 3rd March 2011, 16:46
Hi,I have a few days booked to stay overnight on skomer island in late april :t:.
Does anyone no if the short eared owls are resident all year round or if they will be here in late april ? If anyone has stayed over i would be grateful for any advice on essentials etc to take.
Thanks in advance for any replies.
regards
vic

Hi Vic

Last year one of my volunteer weeks was from 24th April for one week. Going for overnights breaks are good especially for the Manx Shearwater.

I will tell you about the guest accommodation first. The island is dependent on solar power for its electricity. They do have an oil fired generator as back up so there should be no problem with hot water and lighting and power for charging batteries for cameras etc.
I'm afraid the bedrooms do not have en-suite bathrooms but all those sort of facilities are fine in the shared bathroom.
The kitchen has two cookers which are gas fired and are fine. There is also a fridge freezer which is again gas fired and this is OK as well. You will have no problems with your general living requirements as long as you are not expecting to be staying in a central heated carpeted 5* hotel. It is not that, you are living on an island with minimum resources. and everything you need is there.

Food. Unless you are young like some of the volunteers who seem to manage on beer and fags you will need the following. Remember you have a fridge. I have been to the island 9 times now and always look forward to my next visit on May 14th. For a week provisions I look at each meal and work out what I will require. At home for breakfast I have toast and marmalade so I take a thick sliced bread which has 16 slices, marmalade and butter. Two rounds per breakfast with some left over. I also take 8 bananas 1 for each breakfast and 1 left over. I drink tea and coffee. I take two, two pints of fresh milk and keep them in the fridge with the bread.
For lunch I snack and take biscuits, pot noodle, muller rice, that sort of thing, again enough for 7 days. Evening meal I take rice and pasta and packets of sources for each with a couple of onions and chicken breast or whatever is your favourite chopped up and added to the source. I tend to alternate nightly with each.
I also take some chocolate, peanuts and sweets. Things like salt and pepper you will find there. Take your own tea towel.
To sum up try to make your food supply as light as possible, no tinned food or jars if possible. They are heavy to carry and at some stage on and off the boat for example you will have to lift it all. Do take an extra days worth of food because if the weather is bad it may be the case that the boat cannot sail on the day you expect to leave the island.

Clothes wise, take waterproofs including trousers and stiff walking shoes or boots. If you get soaking wet there is no way to dry anything, also ensure you have warm clothing. There are no trees or shelter when you are out and about and could easily get caught in bad weather. Nights are cold and more often than not in April I have to sleep fully clothed to keep warm. A hot water bottle may be worth considering. That's the boring bit over.

Camera equipment, I am assuming you like birds, other wildlife and plants and lanscapes.

I am probably fortunate to have a canon 500f4. People say you do not need a lens this big on the island, believe me if you have one take it. Besides the sea birds there are plenty of small birds as well, this is where the big lens comes in handy. For the sea birds I can get away most of the time with my 70-200 zoom. I also take a 1.4 extender for greater reach and extension tubes for macro work. I have two camera bodies and spare batteries and charger for every thing. I do take a 18-70 lens as well because there is some interesting landscapes to picture and the sunsets from the Trig point are amazing. Take plenty of memory cards with you. If you can get up at 5.00am the sunrises are spectacular as well. A must have are binoculars for obvious reasons and you will need a torch. It is black as black at night. Also night time if the weather is rough is the best time to go and see the Shearwaters and a torch is necessary for this and also to ensure you do not tread on all the toads.

Best places for bird picture are.

Guillimots and Razorbills - the right hand side of the steps coming up from the boat. You will see them all over the island but will not get closer than this. The puffins on the Wick walk literally 4 or 5 feet away from you. The Little Owl is resident on the rock outcrop on the left hand side of the path as you approach the farm (accommodation) on level ground. As the outcrop starts there is a gap in the wall. This is his favourite place. The short eared owls you will find flying around North Stream which is on the way to the Garland stone. Lots of Warbers some Redstart and Whinchat from Moory Mere hide. North pond hide can produce Shoveler Teal Shellduck all the gulls but probably too far to photograph. There was a Hoopoe and a Turtle Dove around the farm last year as well. However other birds come and go. Get yourself invited at 9.00pm every evening to Bird log at the wardens accommodation. This is the large building you can see from the boat as you approach the island. His name is Chris and he usually gives you a talk once you get off the boat, Great guy and he will welcome your input. The blue bells will be showing when you get there but you will be a little early for the best display, the red campions will be out as well.
A good time of year to visit is April and I wish I was there with you but In two weeks 19th March I am going to Skokholm Island for 5 weeks. If you need more information don't be shy, I am happy to help. Let me know how you go on. Oh, during the week I clocked 53 different species so there is plenty to go at including other raptors like HenHarrier, Peregrine Kestrel and Sparrow Hawk.

Enjoy Charlie

Hyrax
Thursday 3rd March 2011, 17:24
Quick question Charlie, which lens(es) did you use for the photos you included?

I'm limited to 200mm, but I'd really like to get some Razorbill/Guillemot portraits when I visit, I had similar framing to yours in mind.

Charlie Sargent
Thursday 3rd March 2011, 17:36
Quick question Charlie, which lens(es) did you use for the photos you included?

I'm limited to 200mm, but I'd really like to get some Razorbill/Guillemot portraits when I visit, I had similar framing to yours in mind.
Hi Hyrax

The Puffin was taken with my 70-200f2.8. All the rest with the 500f4. The Puffin was at the Wick by far the best place for taking there pictures. The Guillimot and Razorbill were both on the steps coming up from the boat on the right hand side half way up. You will manage with 200mm, if you had and extender that would help. The SEO North Valley and the Little Owl on the rocks on the left walking to the farmhouse.

Just a thought if you have a camera with a crop factor like my Canon 40D which is 1.6 it would make your effective lens length 200*1.6 =320mm

Hope that helps
Charlie

Hyrax
Thursday 3rd March 2011, 19:21
Thanks Charlie,

It's a D90 so yes it has a crop factor, 1.5 I think. But I have still found it limiting in most situations, I did have a 2xtc which worked brilliantly aside from the high aperture, but it was broken in a surprise otter incident!

naturenutz
Thursday 3rd March 2011, 20:18
Wow,thanks for your time in writing all that advice charlie.Superb and just the info i was after.I have a nikon d300s with a nikon 300mm f4 plus nikon 1.4 converter.Since i have had this set up i have had the converter permanantly attatched to the 300mm.I also have a tokina 11-16mm wide angle and a sigma 150mm macro.The weight issue is a little concerning,but i hope to take all the lenses and am yet to decide on the tripod.Most of the bird photography i have done has been hand held but without a tripod does effect macro and landscapes if the light is bad .I have been given the number of the nearby farm that allows parking.I then have to lug my gear (too large bags minimum) to the launch area which sounds hard work but all part of the fun i guess .Do they have 3 pin sockets for charging etc ? Do you bother with a sleeping bag or just use the quilt supplied ?. Thanks very much for you time on this . Cant wait to get over there :t:.Are the steps permanantly accessable once you are on the island or only on the way up from landing,if so ill have the camera in hand and ready :-).

Charlie Sargent
Friday 4th March 2011, 14:17
Wow,thanks for your time in writing all that advice charlie.Superb and just the info i was after.I have a nikon d300s with a nikon 300mm f4 plus nikon 1.4 converter.Since i have had this set up i have had the converter permanantly attatched to the 300mm.I also have a tokina 11-16mm wide angle and a sigma 150mm macro.The weight issue is a little concerning,but i hope to take all the lenses and am yet to decide on the tripod.Most of the bird photography i have done has been hand held but without a tripod does effect macro and landscapes if the light is bad .I have been given the number of the nearby farm that allows parking.I then have to lug my gear (too large bags minimum) to the launch area which sounds hard work but all part of the fun i guess .Do they have 3 pin sockets for charging etc ? Do you bother with a sleeping bag or just use the quilt supplied ?. Thanks very much for you time on this . Cant wait to get over there :t:.Are the steps permanantly accessable once you are on the island or only on the way up from landing,if so ill have the camera in hand and ready :-).
Hi Vic

West Hook Farm is the farm for parking. I am assuming it is where you are going. Mr and Mrs Thomas own the farm and it is a good place to leave the car. I have never had a problem.They charged me 12 for the week last year. Not sure if the price is the same in 2011 but I believe if you are not staying a full week they charge you 5 per night. If you are going to lug all your stuff from the farm to the boat you will be dead on arrival. I always reverse my car down to the end of the road by the beach, unload it all and then drive to the farm, park, and walk back. Is your property secure, I cannot guarantee that, so I always keep my ruck sack with my photography gear in it and walk back to the beach with it on my back. If there are two of you there is not a problem or if you can befriend someone then that would probably be OK as well.
In the accommodation there are 3 pin 240v sockets for charging camera, phone and any other batteries you have. The power is generally from solar panels but they do have a generator as a back up so battery charging should be OK.
With regards to keeping warm at night I take two covers for the quilts. I lie on one and have the other on top. If that is not warm enough I get in the sleeping bag as well between the quilts. There will only be one quilt on your bed but if you spoke to Chris the warden he will sort out a second for you I'm sure. Don't forget pillow cases as well.
One tip, if you are an early riser before anyone else, check the water temperature and get your shower then. I guarantee later in the day it will be cold until the solar panels warm it up again.

The steps are free for you to use whenever you wish. You watch most people go steaming of to various parts of the Island once they have landed and had the Wardens talk. They miss so much by not spending time on the steps. If you are there for a few days you can make the most of them when you wish.

Your Web-site looks good.

Regards Charlie

naturenutz
Monday 7th March 2011, 17:12
thanks for your quick response charlie.I will have to get something planned for transferring my gear from the farm to the launch area as i am going on my todd.I will definetly take your advice and visit the steps . Just had a great day at slimbridge and got a few cracking shots.Has wetted my appetite for skomer even more.
cheers
vic

Charlie Sargent
Monday 7th March 2011, 18:42
Viv

If you are so inclined a wheelbarrow will do the job. I did it one trip and left the barrow behind as a donation. No food or drink to bring back just clothes and camera gear.

Charlie

OwenW
Wednesday 4th January 2012, 08:30
I am going to be staying just north of Dale at Easter (turns out the cottage overlooks The Gann, quite by chance - I didn't book it either so I am very happy!) and I was hoping to pay a visit to Skomer during that time. Are the SEOs there all year round, or are they seasonal visitors?

Thanks!

Charlie Sargent
Wednesday 4th January 2012, 19:17
I am going to be staying just north of Dale at Easter (turns out the cottage overlooks The Gann, quite by chance - I didn't book it either so I am very happy!) and I was hoping to pay a visit to Skomer during that time. Are the SEOs there all year round, or are they seasonal visitors?

Thanks!

Hi Owen

I have been on the Island the 3rd week in April and have seen them then. Being Good Friday is April 6th this year I suspect there is a very good chance the SEO's will be there. As far as I am aware they are not resident all year round but return just to to raise young each spring which in recent years has been very successful. If they are resident all year I am sure someone will tell you. Don't forget the Puffins Razorbills and Guillimots will be arriving in April as well.
Charlie

Geoff Haynes
Monday 27th February 2012, 07:43
Hello, I am thinking about spending a day on Skomer hopefully end of May this year.
Can anyone suggest any good accomodation off the Island to stay for a couple of nights ?
What birds would I be likely to see that time of the year ?
Also am I correct in thinking you can't get onto Skomer on a Monday ?
I would be interested in spending the rest of the week in Wales for bird photography, don't mind travelling any ideas ? Would like to get photo's of Choughs as well.
Red Kites at Nanty Arian, sorry about spelling, has also been mentioned to me, where can I base my self accomodation wise for some great bird photography ?
Thank you very much, Geoff.

delia todd
Monday 27th February 2012, 09:14
Hi Geoff

There's a lot of information on the Opus article (http://www.birdforum.net/opus/Skomer) and this is taken from the Vistiing Skomer website

Departing from Martin's Haven daily at 10am, 11am and 12 noon (1st April - 31st October)

No Landings on Monday (except Bank Holidays) Island is Closed 15th 16th 17th May (2012)

extra Round Island Cruises will be available on these days from 10.00am

(additional boats at busy times)



Adults 10.00 - Under 16 7.00 (no booking required)

Landing fee of 10 for Adults, 9 for OAP & 5 for students (payable on the island) children FREE

I can't help with accommodation (we camped on the farm just up the road) but there should be some in Marloes. Chough can be seen all round that headland - I saw them on the cliffs at Marloes Sands, a lovely spot.

D

Geoff Haynes
Monday 27th February 2012, 09:34
Thanks for Info Delia.

knotsbirder
Monday 27th February 2012, 16:19
Gilfach Farm can be good for photos of Pied Flys, Wood Warblers and Redstarts. Skomer is good for Chough too :t:

Sam

Stranger
Tuesday 28th February 2012, 21:30
Anyone planning a day on Skomer should be aware that landing is subject to the vagaries of weather and tide conditions and should allow for this by setting aside more than one day.
It took us three attempts last year,but well worth it.
West Hook farm excellent for Camping or Caravans

Charlie Sargent
Saturday 3rd March 2012, 12:40
Hello, I am thinking about spending a day on Skomer hopefully end of May this year.
Can anyone suggest any good accomodation off the Island to stay for a couple of nights ?
What birds would I be likely to see that time of the year ?
Also am I correct in thinking you can't get onto Skomer on a Monday ?
I would be interested in spending the rest of the week in Wales for bird photography, don't mind travelling any ideas ? Would like to get photo's of Choughs as well.
Red Kites at Nanty Arian, sorry about spelling, has also been mentioned to me, where can I base my self accomodation wise for some great bird photography ?
Thank you very much, Geoff.

Hi Geoff

The Clock House in Marloes comes recommended. I have stayed there and found it comfortable with good food. There is a very nice pub next door as well. Alternatively there is also a Youth Hostel which a friend of mine uses for 18 per night, I suspect you feed yourself at this price. You may want to consider staying on the Island overnight which I would recommend again. Some of the best birding is early morning and evening time after all visitors have left. On some of my previous blogs on this forum is further information on this.

The sailing times listed in other posts are what can be found as advertised sailing times. I would take these with a pinch of salt. Having spent many weeks as a volunteer on the island I have known boats to leave Martins Haven much earlier than 10.00am. I strongly suggest you make enquiries even up to the night before you intend to go because they do change as has been said because of the weather. What ever the sailing time make sure you get there early because I know people have arrived thinking they have plenty of time only to find they managed to get on boat 3 instead of boat 1. Each boat is licensed to carry 50 people with a maximum of 5 boats (250 people). On, I think 3 or 4 occasions, usually height of the summer they can take 6 boats.
Below is a link to the Wildlife Trust which is loaded with information which may help as well. It has been mentioned the Island is closed on Mondays but open when it is a bank holiday Monday.

http://www.welshwildlife.org/skomer-skokholm/visiting-and-staying-on-skomer-and-skokholm/

Hope this helps.

Charlie

Stranger
Tuesday 6th March 2012, 20:16
Hello, I am thinking about spending a day on Skomer hopefully end of May this year.
Can anyone suggest any good accomodation off the Island to stay for a couple of nights ?
What birds would I be likely to see that time of the year ?
Also am I correct in thinking you can't get onto Skomer on a Monday ?
I would be interested in spending the rest of the week in Wales for bird photography, don't mind travelling any ideas ? Would like to get photo's of Choughs as well.
Red Kites at Nanty Arian, sorry about spelling, has also been mentioned to me, where can I base my self accomodation wise for some great bird photography ?
Thank you very much, Geoff.

Ramsey Island for Choughs, boat from Porthstinian,tickets from shop in St Davids

alex berryman
Thursday 8th March 2012, 19:23
Are the puffins likely to have arrived by the 16th April?

Cheers

Alex

Charlie Sargent
Saturday 17th March 2012, 11:43
Are the puffins likely to have arrived by the 16th April?

Cheers

Alex

Check this out Alex 1877 counted on the 15th March. By the time 16th April comes it will be heaving


http://skomerisland.blogspot.co.uk/

Charlie