I’ve really enjoyed photographing Puffins for the last couple of years, and had thought about going again this year, but hadn’t really had time to organise anything. Then I saw a post on Facebook from the Skomer Island page saying they had had a cancellation in their hostel, and there was space for a 2 night stay in mid June which is prime Puffin time!
I reached out to some friends and within a couple of hours, we’d made the decision to go and stay on Skomer for 2 nights.
It’s definitely something I would recommend – although it does come with the proviso that you have to be prepared for “hostel” type accommodation. No heating in the rooms, shared bathroom, single kitchen for use by all 16 guests, bottled gas for everything so you should only boil the water you need not just blindly fill the kettle etc. You have to take everything with you and carry it yourself (there is a tractor that will take your bag from the jetty to the hostel). On the list of things to bring are things like sheets, tea towel, all food and drink you need for your stay plus extra incase the weather changes and you can’t get off the island! Etc etc etc.
But if you can see beyond that, you have two full days on the island, with very few other visitors – especially if you can manage to include a Monday in your stay, as the Island doesn’t have any other visitors on a Monday unless there’s a bird watching walk (about 15 people staying for an hour or so) – which means you get the island to yourself on Mondays.
We arrived Sunday, and managed to cover pretty much the whole island during the course of the day. It’s a beautiful island, and the flowers were out in abundance. We literally just wandered around, stopping to photograph whatever we saw, and enjoyed the warm sunny weather. There were all sorts of LBBs (little brown birds) … there were stunning Oyster Catchers, curlews, and choughs, there were buzzards, a peregrine, little owls and short eared owls. Then there were kittiwakes, razor bils, guillemots, black backed gulls, gannets and of course PUFFINS! We even went out at night to hear (and just about see) the manx shearwaters whilst being treated to a great display by the glow worms!
We also saw seals in a couple of the bays around the island, and porpoises as well!
It really was an amazing trip and definitely something I could see myself repeating. Sitting on the Wick (for those who haven’t yet visited Skomer, the Wick is where many of the puffins have their burrows so it tends to be covered in puffins coming and going) as the sun went down, with a glass of wine in hand, enjoying the calls, flirts, and flutters of the puffins all around me was something incredibly special.
I still have plenty of images to sort through but in the meantime, if you’d like to see more, you should be able to find them here
Thanks for reading!