• News From The Rock #11 - The wanderers return

    Every spring we look forward to a particular event on Ramsey, an event that can only be experienced in a handful of places anywhere in the world....the return of Manx shearwaters to their breeding burrows. Over 90% of the world population of this species breed in the UK with over 50% breeding right here in Pembrokeshire. Skomer island, just 6 miles south of Ramsey hosts the largest colony in the world with 350,000 pairs…

    • 7 Apr 2020
  • News From The Rock #10 - Signs of spring and a goodbye

    There was a warmth in the air today not felt as yet this year. Gloves and hats were discarded for a while giving a glimpse of what might lie ahead. The vegetation on Ramsey is always a long way behind that on the mainland thanks to our harsh micro climate. Daffodils are barely out in time for St Davids Day but by April Fools are still in full bloom in sheltered areas around the buildings. So while the island still bears…

    • 3 Apr 2020
  • News From The Rock #9 - March Round Up

    Well March has flown by and it is safe to say it was unlike any other month I've ever known out here. In a bid to keep a semblance of normality in this strange world we find ourselves in here is a good old fashioned recap of the month's bird sightings:

    At close of play on 31/3 our year list stands at 55 - not ground breaking but not bad! The highlights being marsh harrier, coal tit and black redstart with notable…

    • 31 Mar 2020
  • News From The Rock #8 - Back Online

    Thanks to our RSPB IT Crowd bods for sorting out my blog access after I somehow locked myself out of my account on Friday night (I'm sure they have got better things to be doing right now!) - #7 in this series was relegated to 'Twitter only' and included news of yet another red kite over the island (our 3rd record for March)

    So over the weekend our number of confirmed chough nest sites increased to 9 pairs…

    • 30 Mar 2020
  • News From The Rock #6 - The Chough Wake Up

    After a slow start to proceedings our chough moved up a gear today with a further 5 nest sites being confirmed bringing the running total to 7 with at least another 2 pairs firmly on territory. This was no doubt helped by a second day of spring like weather. Yesterday's max temp was 14c - very warm for here in March (although it dropped to 4c overnight and felt like to too!)

    By the end of today the wind had shifted…

    • 26 Mar 2020
  • News From The Rock #5 - Black Redstart day

    Another sunny day on the island, feeling spring like by this afternoon. Migration was in full swing with the arrival of at least another 10 wheatears with some sustained sing offs between rival males. Their song is one of the sounds of spring on Ramsey, explosive bursts of techno chatter!

    Goldcrests and chiffchaffs moved through too and one of my favourite birds, the black redstart appeared at the bungalow, our second…

    • 25 Mar 2020
  • News From The Rock #4 - Is it #4? I think so.....

    Just a quick one this evening folks as it's been a busy day of cleaning (even though we're not opening the buildings still need sprucing up after winter) and meetings (Microsoft Teams is helping keep the RSPB Cymru family together!)

    Couple of new birds for the year list today - little owl and white wagtail. Little owls are pretty scarce in Pembrokeshire now and Ramsey used to be a stronghold. Not that long ago…

    • 24 Mar 2020
  • News From The Rock #3 - The Ramsey Gym

    The nice weather continues, bright and sunny again meant a tank full of hot water by the end of the day and full batteries - I love 100% renewable energy days out here! (ok so I am burning some logs tonight but it's all compressed saw mill off cuts in the form of eco logs.....)

    I was a bit late getting to sheep feeding so the ladies had come to look for me. This means getting through the gate is a bit tricky but luckily…

    • 23 Mar 2020
  • News From The Rock #2 (more inventive sub-headings to follow!)

    Today saw the first real spring like day since we've been back. Warm sunshine and the roaring easterly of the past 2 days had dropped to a mere breeze - however the ability to hold my camera steady did little to improve my photography skills!

    After feeding the sheep I set off in search of more chough nest building activity. Following the first 2 nest sites being located in recent days, today drew a blank with seemingly…

    • 22 Mar 2020
  • News From The Rock #1

    I can't promise daily blogs but we will provide regular updates to share island life with folk who had been planning to visit this season or might simply want a bit of a change in their timelines.

    So today - well late March is the time when we pin down our chough nest sites. Last year we had a record 11 pairs nesting, roughly 3% of the entire UK population. Chough nest in sea caves and cliff crevices, the nest hidden…

    • 21 Mar 2020
  • Ramsey Island Closed - Coronavirus update

    In line with the latest Government advice, the RSPB has taken the difficult decision to close the shops, cafes and visitor centres across all our nature reserves.  We want to do everything we can to help people and communities in these difficult times, which is why we will keep our reserve trails and car parks open where possible, and are removing all entrance and car parking charges to enable free access.

    However, the…

    • 20 Mar 2020
  • 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