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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Birds 
Thread started 15 May 2013 (Wednesday) 15:00
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Skomer: Puffins and more

 
myphotographic
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May 15, 2013 15:00 |  #1

I recently returned from my first visit to Skomer, an island off the coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales. Once used as a remote farm, Skomer is now a Wildlife Trust reserve. Back in January I booked myself three nights in the converted farm building, with the hope of photographing the island’s famous puffin colony, as well as razorbills and guillemots. For a while it looked like the non-arrival of spring might leave me on a puffinless island, but the weather turned just in time, and I found myself on a sunbaked Skomer, watching Puffins returning to select their mates and burrows.

IMAGE: http://www.myphotographic.com/gallery//00516_IMG_4485.jpg
Watching the sun go down | 200mm, ISO 250, 1/1600s at f/4.0


IMAGE: http://www.myphotographic.com/gallery//00513_IMG_4473.jpg
Puffin | 200mm, ISO 320, 1/1600s at f/4.0


IMAGE: http://www.myphotographic.com/gallery//00514_IMG_4431.jpg
Pair of Puffins | 130mm, ISO 250, 1/2000s at f/2.8


IMAGE: http://www.myphotographic.com/gallery//00515_IMG_2958.jpg
I caught a fish this big… | 200mm, ISO 400, 1/2500s at f/3.5


IMAGE: http://www.myphotographic.com/gallery//00509_IMG_3887.jpg
Guillemot | 380mm, ISO 640, 1/3200s at f/7.1


IMAGE: http://www.myphotographic.com/gallery//00510_IMG_3471.jpg
Razorbill | 400mm, ISO 400, 1/1000s at f/8.0


Skomer doesn’t just offer a chance to view seabirds. As well as appearances from the islands populations of kestrels, merlins, peregrine falcons and buzzards, my visit also coincided with rare visits from both a montagu and pallid harrier (a potential first for Wales). There was also plenty of opportunity to watch oystercatchers, wheatears, whimbrels, the occasional inquisitive seal, short eared owls and an excess of gulls.

IMAGE: http://www.myphotographic.com/gallery//00520_IMG_4165.jpg
Chough | 400mm, ISO 320, 1/500s at f/8.0


IMAGE: http://www.myphotographic.com/gallery//00521_IMG_2777.jpg
Merlin | 400mm, ISO 640, 1/1250s at f/7.1


I took the return boat with a certain sadness, having thoroughly enjoyed myself over the three preceeding days; cut off from the rest of the world, and nothing to do but take photos. I've barely scratched the surface of sorting the 2000 photos I returned with, but I'm already plotting a 2014 journey! For anyone in the lower half of the UK, I really can't recommend a visit enough.

Paul

  
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2n10
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May 15, 2013 15:22 |  #2

Beautiful shots


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KT29
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May 15, 2013 16:22 |  #3

Love those Puffings. Thanks for sharing.:)


Terry

  
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andrewhuxman
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May 15, 2013 18:33 |  #4

Great shots ,very envious here,Puffins Razorbills and Guillemots real interesting and beautiful birds


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myphotographic
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May 16, 2013 04:13 |  #5

Thanks for the comments. Puffins really are cool little birds, and Skomer is a wonderful place.


Paul

  
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cur
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May 16, 2013 05:08 as a reply to  @ myphotographic's post |  #6

What a great place for birds. Is it hard to get to and have a spot? Can you just drop in and take some pictures? I really like the merlin picture. Here they mostly fly the brush hunting small birds and are hard to get shots of.
Thanks For sharing



  
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myphotographic
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May 16, 2013 05:56 |  #7

cur wrote in post #15937061 (external link)
What a great place for birds. Is it hard to get to and have a spot? Can you just drop in and take some pictures? I really like the merlin picture. Here they mostly fly the brush hunting small birds and are hard to get shots of.
Thanks For sharing

You need to take one of the official boats to the island. There are multiple boats for day trippers, Tuesday-Sunday, with a limit of 250 people. When I was there (last few days of Apr), they were seeing just over 100 people turn up. The boat is highly dependent on the weather and it's not unusual for them not to run on a given day. Plus you can't reserve a spot, you need to turn up early enough and queue.

The puffin colony can apparantly end up being a bit of scrum during the height of the peak season. However, I managed to book one of the 16 overnight beds, and I had the puffins more or less to myself in the evening. The day I left a tour group of nine bird photographers turned up for a few days, but even then, they'd have each had plenty of elbow room. Accomodation does need to be booked early; the popular May/June dates sell out very quickly.

The merlin was a lucky chance encounter, I'm not sure I'll get that a chance to photo one quite so close on my next visit. You'll definately see raptors on any given day, but if they're close enough for good photos is the usual age-old issue...

Official site: http://www.welshwildli​fe.org …g-on-skomer-and-skokholm/ (external link)


Paul

  
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manitobaman
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May 16, 2013 07:18 |  #8

Awesome series!




  
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nc_killie
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May 16, 2013 15:46 |  #9

Nice series, and a nice selection of birds seen. Puffins are one of my favourites - I'm off to Skokholm in June, hopefully I will get a puffin or two!




  
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Crimzon
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May 16, 2013 17:58 |  #10

Awesome series


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Flo
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May 16, 2013 18:15 as a reply to  @ Crimzon's post |  #11

Would love to go there! Wonderful.


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butterfly2937
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May 16, 2013 21:06 as a reply to  @ Flo's post |  #12

I love the Puffins! You really were close to them!


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Skomer: Puffins and more
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