Thursday 23 June 2022

Skokholm trip 2022

On the 23rd of May, 7 members of the Teifi Ringing Group (and two honourary members) visited Skokholm. This was a first visiting the famous “Dream Island” for me.

The week started off with changeable weather, which would turn out to be the standard for the rest of the week. However the team persevered through the dodgy weather, and managed to push the heligolands every day, with a few days mist netting dispersed in between. This perseverance paid off with Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail frequenting the stone walls one day on north plain, Garden Warbler and Yellowhammer (the first to be seen on Skokholm for eight years and only the second to be ringed in the last decade) caught. Movement of migrants through the island had stalled with low numbers of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler observed or ringed daily.


Elsewhere rarities spotted on our time here included an Icterine Warbler skulking in the scrub near the hide at north pond. The star rarity of the week surely must have been Moltoni's Warbler (a first record for Wales), which made watchers work hard for the briefest glimpses in the small trees of the courtyard.

The Moltoni's Warbler attracted a small flock of twitchers to the courtyard,
only the third record of this rare phenomena on Skokholm in the last 10 years

Other activities included Puffin ringing on the neck (the catching likened by Miguel as more stressful than two hours of football penalties at the world cup) and ringing Manx Shearwaters each night between the farm and the lighthouse. Good numbers of shearwaters were processed (which made the midnight alarms a little less painful), with around 20 new birds per person ringed, with similar numbers of previously ringed birds recaptured. The oldest ringed shearwater we caught was a bird ringed previously in 2014.

One of the many ringed Shearwaters

Puffin ringing at The Neck

The moth trap provided morning entertainment most days with the bulk comprising of Pod Lover, Buff Ermine, White Ermine, Campion and Marbled Coronet. Occasionally joined by treats that are Star-wort, Common Swift and Buff Tip.

Buff Tip Moth

We are very grateful to wardens Richard and Giselle for taking us on a Storm Petrel walk to the quarry to see the amazing petrel station and the colony using infrared cameras, as well as welcoming us to their island. I would also like to thank Alan Wilkins for sharing his knowledge and research into petrel vocalisations, and the LTVs Megan and Lucy for sharing their Fulmar studies with us. 

The staff were busy conducting whole island seabird counts,
including the Fulmars. 

A classic Pembrokeshire sunset

Thomas Faulkner,  Teifi Ringing Group trainee

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