I recently had the privelege of visting Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire with my husband as a wedding anniversary treat. Skomer is reportedly the home to one of the most spectacular and accessible seabird colonies in Europe – a bird lovers paradise! In season you can see gulls, guillemots, razorbills, manx shearwaters (but not in the day) and lastly the dear little puffin.
By sheer good fortune we happened to visit when the puffins were nesting in the burrows in the turf on the cliff tops and busy fishing for sand eels and taking them back to the nests. It was one of the most delightful and elating experiences and we could have stayed and watched them all day. I had no idea what these funny little creatures have to endure when trying to feed their young. Every trip out to gather sand eels to take back to the nest is a potentially exhausting and futile trip as they have to battle to avoid being pounced upon by the horrible seagulls and their catch brutally pinched. It was actually quite distressing to witness when this did happen from time to time.
Apparently the puffins can only be seen on the island until mid-summer, whilst they raise their young in their little burrows and then they spend the rest of the year at sea, before returning to breed again the following year. If you haven’t been to see the puffins – you need to.
Check out The Welsh Wildlife Trust.
As ever, photos taken by my talented and patient husband, Dave Owen.