• Counting seabirds

    We've just finished the latest counts of seabirds around the coast of Ramsey. This year we've been concentrating on our auks; razorbills, guillemots and puffins.

    Where we can, we count the birds from the land, sitting along the coast with binoculars and telescopes for many hours looking over the crowded ledges of the high sea cliffs. However, where we can't see the cliff faces from the land, we have to go out…

    • 23 Jun 2019
  • Myrtle Warbler

    A couple of weeks ago we had some major excitement when an American vagrant of the avian kind landed on the Island. With a southerly or south-westerly wind in the spring, it's common for the Pembrokeshire islands to be visited by bird species rare to the UK. This time it was Ramsey’s turn after both Skomer and Skokholm has some interesting passers-by in the previous weeks.

    As a visitor was walking past the farm…

    • 16 Jun 2019
  • Calling Shearwaters

    Anyone who spends a night on Ramsey Island over the spring and summer months will hear as they lie in bed the odd and slightly spooky calls of Manx Shearwaters; it’s all part of the ‘Ramsey Experience’ for volunteers and wardens alike. Even visitors across on the island for the day could hear the calls if they join one of the guided walks. The volunteer leading the walk will play a recording of a dueting pair of shearwaters…

    • 10 Jun 2019
  • Changing Of The Guard

    Today saw us bid a sad farewell to Morgan, skipper of the Gower Ranger for the past 6 years. Time flies by on islands as the seasons blend into one and new faces become part of the ever changing scenery, but for a position as important as our boat skipper it has been reassuring to see the same face at the wheel for so long.

    Thousands of you will have been transported across Ramsey Sound by Morgan and his crew, enjoyed…

    • 1 May 2019
  • Feels like April again!

    After being lulled into a false sense of security in late March, more typical Pembrokeshire spring weather resumed today with a cold, strong north westerly, sunshine and hail showers. All in time for the new visitor season! 

    The Gower Ranger hasn't been able to land yet due to the northerly winds and tomorrow and possibly Thursday look out too. If you are trying to get here keep in touch with Thousand Islands Expeditions…

    • 2 Apr 2019
  • RSPB to relocate Ramsey Island

    Following successful rat eradication 20 years ago, Ramsey has seen a remarkable increase in its Manx shearwater population and the return of storm petrels to breed. But despite all manner of attempts to lure them back, one target species has alluded us….the puffin!

    So in an audacious and forward thinking bid to finally lure the ‘clown of the sea’, or the ‘money bird’ as they are sometimes called, back to the island…

    • 1 Apr 2019
  • FIrst week back

    After a winter of 'to-ing and fro-ing' staff and dog made permanent landfall on the island on 8th March when a brief break in an unsettled spell of weather meant a mad dash to launch the boat and go for it!

    I did a quick supermarket sweep on the Thursday night, hoping my memory of what was still in the island store cupboard was correct (and it hadn’t been eaten by voles!) before getting up at the crack of dawn…

    • 17 Mar 2019
  • Raise a glass to Ramsey Island Gin!

    Think of gin and you might think tonic. But now think gorse, heather, thyme and mint and you might be thinking of Ramsey!

    Just across Ramsey Sound our neighbours and friends at St David’s Kitchen have been hard at work creating a new and exclusive product. The Kitchen’s ethos has always been rooted in local provenance and high-quality produce. The map of the St David’s peninsula on the wall of the restaurant proudly…

    • 17 Dec 2018
  • Weigh in day for the national bird of Wales!

    In my view the Manx shearwater should be the official national bird of Wales! Over 50% of the world population of this species breeds here. With 316,000 pairs on Skomer and 62,000 pairs on Skokholm, Pembrokeshire alone accounts for most of that. Without doing any research I'll stick my neck out and say Manxies are the single most important bird species in Wales in terms of percentage of the world population breeding here…

    • 30 Jul 2018
  • Grassholm - Gannets, flies, gannets, dust!

    Colour ringed gannet -  L Morgan

    As we reach July and the majority of viable gannet eggs have hatched on Grassholm, the fieldwork season for RSPB wardens and our research partners can begin. We’ve already completed seabird counts from the boat back in May and early June but we never land to work on the island until chicks are a few weeks old and the risk of disturbing incubating adults has passed.

    Lisa, Bee and Ed after day on GrassholmEven so, the first landing of the season is…

    • 19 Jul 2018

    Northern Wheatear - A Crowder

    Guest Blog by Andrew Crowder

    When I was in my teens thinking about my future I knew I wanted to work somewhere within the field of biology. My wildest dreams were of animal research on the African plains or the jungles of South America. Real life didn’t quite deliver that opportunity although I did enjoy virtually my whole career within the NHS diagnostic science services. So when I retired I set out to experience…

    • 3 Jul 2018
  • Seabirds Count 2018

    RSPB Grassholm IslandOver the last couple of weeks we’ve been busy counting the seabirds nesting on and around RSPB Cymru’s Pembrokeshire islands. It’s a lot of work so we don’t count every species annually, but we’ll be updating all our population figures this year and next to tie in with the UK wide Seabirds Count. The latest round of survey work is coordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC…

    • 8 Jun 2018
  • Adder advice and how to report your sightings

    We are often asked if we have any reptiles on Ramsey. The answer is that we do have Common Lizards and these are often seen basking on the footpaths, especially in the southern heath-land. We also have a writhing mass of Slow worms (legless lizards) in the farmhouse garden compost bin and many in the longer grass around the farm.  But we don't have any snakes. Despite what looks like perfect habitat for adders, they have…

    • 26 Apr 2018
  • Car Park Closure at St Justinians

    Due to a planning decision by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority the car park at St Justinians has been closed.

    At present there is an hourly Park and Ride service from St Davids to St Justinians, provided by Pembrokeshire County Council. This will increase to two buses an hour in peak season.

    Easter has demonstrated that the current shuttle bus provision with no car park at St Justinians is insufficient…

    • 16 Apr 2018
  • Ramsey In The Freezer

    As i type this on the afternoon of March 18th it is snowing outside...again. I should be talking about the first chough nest building activity, the arrival of migrants and promising signs of spring. I can touch on some of those topics but March 2018 has been far from a 'typical month' weather wise. 

    The beginning of the month saw the arrival of the 'Beast From The East'. Sub zero temperatures are rare on the islands…

    • 19 Mar 2018
  • Pembrokeshire Scouts Tackle Plastic Pollution

    Regular readers of this blog will be well aware of the plastic pollution issues facing our RSPB reserve of Grassholm, home to 36,000 pairs of breeding gannets - see here for a report from our 2017 mission. We were delighted when the 1st Johnston Scout Group approached us to say they wanted to cover the issue for their entry to the Young Reporters For The Environment competition; an international competition being hosted…

    • 14 Mar 2018
  • New season is upon us...and a P.S from 2017

    We are back on Ramsey for the new season after a short winter break. The island is very wet but everything is in good order. I was going through some paperwork on my return and found a blog which our 2016 and 2017 intern Sarah had written about last year's Manx shearwater season.....and I had clearly forgotten to publish!!

    Given that our birds will be winging their way up the east coast of the USA as I type and the…

    • 19 Feb 2018
  • It's not all doom and gloom!

    It's probably fair to say the last few blog posts on here have been a bit short on 'light entertainment'! And following Storm Brian, hot on the heels of Ophelia, it looked like more tidings of woe were on the way. Yet more grey seal pups were lost and the numbers left on our beaches plummeted still further BUT....there is a good news story to end on! 

    There is a small beach to the south of the farmhouse called…

    • 26 Oct 2017
  • Grassholm Groundhog Day

    Lying 7 miles off the Pembrokeshire coast Grassholm Island is the oldest RSPB reserve in Wales. When purchased in 1948 it was home to around 7,000 pairs of northern gannet, today that number has increased to 36,000 making it the 3rd largest colony in the UK (behind Bass Rock and St Kilda) and the only gannetry in Wales.

    Regular readers will know that each October RSPB staff from here on Ramsey Island make the annual…

    • 20 Oct 2017
  • Ophelia Hits Hard

    Ex-hurricane Ophelia rumbled up the Irish Sea on 16th October leaving a trail of wildlife destruction in her wake. A good friend of mine once told me at the start of my career 'death and destruction is all around you on seabird islands - get used to it!' - and so it has proved. Yesterday, however, it wasn't our seabirds that were suffering, it was our grey seal pups. 

    As forecast we were subjected to 80mph…

    • 18 Oct 2017
  • Thoughts from a Ramsey Volunteer

    As the season for residential volunteering on Ramsey comes to a close, we’re already thinking about plans for next year. 2018 will be special for the island as it will be 25 years since RSPB took ownership and opened it to the public.

    It is true that Ramsey, like many of our iconic reserves has a loyal team of regular volunteers who come out to the island annually for anything from 2 weeks to 6 months. With just…

    • 1 Oct 2017
  • One swallow definitely doesn't make a summer

    It's been a tough year for a lot of wildlife on Ramsey thanks to the largely unsettled weather, in particular our swallows and house martins. All was looking rosy for them following a dry and settled spring but following the wettest June on record for the island all that changed.

    Our 10 pairs of house martins were all incubating or had small chicks in the first week of June but following 155mm (over 5" in old money…

    • 11 Aug 2017
  • More success for Shearwaters

    Apologies for the lack of blogs of late - coupled with a very busy season we have been battling with some 'island life' internet issues - all seems to be sorted now! (*crosses fingers*)

    To kick off the return of the blog here is one from our Ramsey Intern, Sarah Parmor with an update on the Manx shearwater season thus far......

    Following the successful fledging of the two nest box Manx Shearwater chicks last…

    • 27 Jul 2017
  • No place like home

    Welcome home EB52672 and EB52673. After 7 months apart, travelling to and from the coast of Argentina, this pair of Manx shearwaters are back in the exact same nest box as 2016 - they were first time breeders last year and successfully raised a chick. Fingers crossed for another good year

    Our 2016 survey showed a further increase in numbers of this nocturnal species as it continues to respond well to rat eradication…

    • 5 Apr 2017