Thursday, 7 August 2014

Beautiful Pembrokeshire: Puffiny Loveliness!

Ooh dear, yesterday evening and today have been a bit stressy, a bit unpleasant. I have done my best to help the situation, but with no positive results. As there is nothing else I can do, I thought I would post this about puffins. Those gorgeous little critters are guaranteed to cheer me up a little :)

On our second day in Pembrokeshire, my friend Sarah’s oldest boy was going to be busy dog-sitting for his dad. He doesn’t really like boats after a hairy experience when he was younger (although he does enjoy other water-based activities) so he wouldn’t have wanted to come with us, but my husband Adam, friend Sarah, her youngest boy and me took the boat over to visit Skomer Island.

Skomer Island is run as a nature reserve, and is most famous for its seabirds, particularly the beautiful puffins. Puffins are similar to guillemots and razorbills, which I had seen a few of when I was in Cornwall. However, while these other two bird species nest on the steep rocky cliffs, which are available all over the coastline, puffins nest in burrows directly on the coast. Use of burrows means that they are more limited in habitat availability, and also makes them vulnerable to disturbance from land-based predators, human activity etc, further narrowing down the habitat they can make use of. Skomer is therefore a really significant nesting site for them in the UK.

Visiting Skomer is a multi-part expense – the car park is National Trust, so we didn’t have to pay the £5 fee as we are members, but we did have to pay the landing fee for the island of £10 (This has a fair pricing structure, with discounts for students and retirees, and free for Trust members and children. The money goes to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, which maintains the island) and also the boat fee of £11 for adults (£7 for children, babies free).

Although this money does add up, the island is so special that for me it is totally worth it. To make it even more worth it, there were still loads of puffins on the islands! I had really hoped to see puffins again before leaving for Australia, however they only come into land for their breeding season, and are normally back out at sea at this time of year. For very horrible reasons though, many puffins still remained: the storms earlier this year caused a lot of damage to the auk populations, causing what was named an auk wreck. So many of these birds (puffins, guillemots, razorbills) were killed in the storms, and those that did make it had had such a battle for survival that they arrived at their breeding sites late and in very poor condition. They therefore started late, and also required extra time to get healthy again. Very bad news for the birds, so difficult for me to be too happy about still being able to see them – though seeing them is such a joy.

The puffins are so wonderful that I think it’s best if they take over for the rest of this post, do enjoy their cute little faces and their sweet loveliness!

Why did the puffin cross the road?

I hope you enjoyed the puffins as much as I did! (Although admittedly that would tough ;)


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you for the concern, it is much appreciated! Things are a bit rubbish at the moment, but it's not really something I could describe on here. Hopefully it will all work out though :) And luckily I have support from my hubby, not sure what I'd have done without that tbh!!

      Hope all is good with you - I'm not getting much internet time lately and I feel like I'm really missing out on everyone's blogs!