Saturday, 19 May 2012

It is official the Lighthouse belongs to the Wildlife Trust

Hello Friends 

It is official the Lighthouse on Skokholm now belongs to the Wildlife Trust. 
Keys were handed over on Wednesday. 
Below is a summary of the TV coverage of the event. Our Friends Volunteers Wendy and Dyfed were able to say a few words about the work accomplished so far. Thank you to Dyfed for recording the events and making them available to us. 


Monday, 7 May 2012

A taste of bird ringing on Skokholm

Those of you who have been on Skokholm work parties will know the pleasure of that golden time before breakfast when the time is your own. I was planning to get up every morning before dawn to open the mist nets and hopefully catch some birds to ring. Unfortunately the weather demons had other ideas and wind and rain put paid to that except on two calm mornings. 

Bob, Jerry, Will and myself ringed 60 birds and caught one retrap on the 24th April. On the 26th there had been a big fall of birds as they dropped in with some early morning drizzle. By the time we had to pack up to start work we had ringed 92 birds of 6 species and a retrap Wren.

To give an idea of species that day - 
Willow Warbler 48
Chiffchaff 6
Blackcap 32
Sedge Warbler 2
Whitethroat 3
Grasshopper Warbler 1

Grasshopper Warbler
Looking back through the island records, this is a fraction of the birds that were caught in the days when a Heligoland trap was used. The massive advantage of this large trap is that it can be used safely in all weathers whereas mist nets cannot be used in wind or rain. With so many windy days on Skokholm it is a shame that when enthusiastic ringers are on the island no ringing can be done. 

A Heligoland Trap in Devon
© Copyright David Medcalf and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 
As mentioned in the 2011 report, it is hoped to make the island an Accredited Bird Observatory again. It was last accredited in 1976 but with the reintroduction of appropriate bird ringing and trapping regimes it is hoped to achieve this if the materials can be found and the traps built. 

The rebuilding of a Heligoland trap would seem to be essential to ensure the effective monitoring of birds using the island as a stop off point on their migration in Spring and Autumn. A small cost compared to the whole renovation project but a massive boost to the status of the island.

Wendy James

If you would like to help financially, or in any other way, to make the building of a Heligoland Trap happen, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Friends via 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Skokholm on BBC Radio 4

This weeks BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Drama, 'Through the Wire', opens with a description of very early Manx shearwater research on Skokholm, and two of the characters, John Buxton and Peter Condor, are strongly linked to Skokholm too.

John Buxton was Ronald Lockley's brother-in-law (married to Lockley's sister, Marjorie), and wardened Skokholm between Lockley's stints in 1939.  Peter Condor wardened Skokholm from 1947 to 1953 and in due course became Director of the RSPB.

You have until 7 May 2012 to listen to it on the BBC iPlayer  

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Last Spring 2012 Skokholm Work-party

Hello all,

A few pictures and update from the last work-party this spring. On Monday the Island is open to visitors. The cottage looks beautiful white and pristine. Thanks to Dyfed James for the wonderful photos, especially for managing to catch the white of the cottage against a rare blue sky!

Work-party Phyl and Dorothy Blatcher, Wendy and Dyfed James, Carol Collins, Annie and Bob Haycock, aided and abetted by Jerry and Will put the finishing touches to the cottage and kitchen and pantry. 

The common room looks fabulous
 New furniture and pictures as well as warm fire
The four bedrooms in the cottage; Stewards, Carpenter and Gunner and the Smoke room as well as Ringing Room are ready to receive visitors  .

Ringing Room
These 4 weeks of work parties have again demonstrated how much can be achieved with willing and motivated workers. The weather has been incredibly varied with sunshine, storms and heavy rain. See Jerry’s video on TheSkokholm blog. We managed to get everyone on  and off pretty much as planned thanks to Dale Sailing and their team. Kenny is smiling after his holiday in the sun. Jerry our lovely warden has pitched in with enthusiasm and good humour. Will our long term volunteer has taken part with gusto in this episode of ‘Carry on Skokholm’. A big thank you to all of you.

The puffins are waiting for you all to visit and enjoy the Island.