• Who Let The Dogs Out?!

    During November I was lucky enough to attend a 2 week Conservation Detection Dog Handlers assessment course with Kryus Ltd - this is part of a project with Biosecuirty For Life of which RSPB is a lead partner. The project aims to protect the 42 seabird Special Protections Areas (SPA's) around the UK from introduced mammalian predators and lead on biosecurity measures.

    For more on this, and how detection dogs are joining…

    • 3 Dec 2021
  • News From The Rock 93 - sunshine and showers

    We are currently in an 'unsettled spell'. No named storms yet this year but the past week has seen strong to gale force winds every day. After several days of groundhog day like weather consisting of rain and low cloud it was nice to actually see some sunshine today. The trade off being it was accompanied by torrential showers! Myself and the hound spent most of the day on the grey seal monitoring round. The season is…

    • 20 Oct 2021
  • News From The Rock 92 - The annual Grassholm pilgrimage (emphasis on GRIM)

    Grassholm is a spectacular reserve. The oldest RSPB reserve in Wales, the only northern gannet colony in Wales and, with 36,000 pairs, the 3rd largest in the world behind Bass Rock and St Kilda. It is a privilege to manage the island and to have the honour to land on it a few times a year as part of my job. Back in the summer that is for scientific research and monitoring purposes but in October, as regular readers of…

    • 18 Oct 2021
  • News From The Rock 91 - More Harbour (p)updates

    Time flies and before you know it one of the harbour pups has left and the other is about to go! Thought I'd better get a quick photo of this one uploaded in case I missed them both. This was known as 'badger' due to the look they had when the all black face was moulting through their white natal coat. In this photo 'badger' is 19 days old and the cow is long gone. She abandoned the pup at 15 days old and the pup was…

    • 23 Sep 2021
  • Manx shearwater strandings

    The Manx shearwater fledgling season is in full swing. If you live, or are on holiday, in Pembrokeshire (or Carmarthen, or Cerdigion....or even Cardiff!) keep an eye out for these birds that can become disorientated by mainland lighting or blown inland by strong winds. More information and who to call if you find one on the posters above (click on posters to see at full resolution)

    • 13 Sep 2021
  • News From The Rock 90 - Harbour (P)update

    Suddenly a week has gone by since the 2nd harbour pup was born and 10 days since the first. They have changed a lot in that time and there's been a bit of drama too! We have just passed new moon which means big spring tides. With it being close to the autumn equinox they are the biggest of the year (over 7m at high tide for a few days). Despite it being calm the pups are forced to swim for a few hours twice a day at each…

    • 10 Sep 2021
  • News From The Rock 89 - Harbour Pup Take 2

    Our small harbour beach is getting a bit crowded with a 2nd pup being born there this afternoon! Again it looks like one of the cows that pupped here last year. 2020 was the first time she had pupped in the harbour and it showed. She was very skittish, jumping at the slightest noise or movement. She still seems a little skittish this year but much better. We were servicing the crane above the harbour today and although…

    • 3 Sep 2021
  • News From The Rock 88 - Harbour pup

    Our latest survey count, yesterday (1/9) revealed there are now 69 pups on the 9 study beaches (which account for roughly 50% of all pups born on the island). This is very similar to the corresponding date last year when 64 were counted, but both years were well up on 2019.

    It's always a pleasure when the first pup arrives in the harbour and sure enough we said hello to pup#1 for this year on Tuesday morning. Born to…

    • 2 Sep 2021
  • News From The Rock 87 - The pups are back in town

    High pressure is dominating our weather at the moment meaning largely dry and settled conditions. This is all good news for the grey seal pups that are starting to pop out all over the shop now. From just 12 on our study beaches 3 days ago, we saw a rise to 29 today! This compares with 21 on this day last year and 26 in 2019.

    We should see a rapid increase over the coming few weeks with numbers peaking around the middle…

    • 26 Aug 2021
  • Ramsey Postcard Gift Set

    Artist and good friend of the island, Jazz Austin, has taken a few of my Ramsey photos and given them a makeover by turning them into a lovely set of watercolour postcards. They are available to buy via her Etsy web page and from the Thousand Islands boat booking office in St Davids. £2 from every sale will be donated to us here on Ramsey Island and will help fund our conservation work.

    Jazz has taken a range of…

    • 11 Aug 2021
  • News From The Rock 86 - Heatwaves, cuckoos and shearwater bonanza

    Like everywhere it's been a warm week on Ramsey. Heatwaves are a rarity out here thanks to the surrounding cool sea, anything over 20c is considered 'hot' by our standards. This week we saw the mercury register at 25c or over on 5 consecutive days (max 27c on two days). Our weather data set only goes back to 2005 but this is the first time we've recorded 25c or over on anything more than two days. The record since 2005…

    • 23 Jul 2021
  • News From The Rock 85 - Seabird Count Update (Kittiwake and puffin)

    And so to the final instalment of this year's seabird count update and two of the seabirds with the smallest breeding populations on Ramsey and the Bishops & Clerks. 

    Kittiwake have never bred here in large numbers but at their peak there were 489 pairs in 1995. Subsequent years have seen a steady decline to a new low of just 51 pairs this year. The figure had been stable around 80-90 pairs for the past few years…

    • 30 Jun 2021
  • News From The Rock 84 - Seabird Count Update (Fulmar)

    Moving slightly further up the cliff face and away from the hustle and bustle (and smell!) of the auks we find the northern fulmar. The closest relative to the albatross family we have in the northern hemisphere you can find this graceful flyer arcing through the sky at most northern and western seabird colonies in the UK. Flying on stiff wings, covering miles at a time with minimal energy usage they breed on narrow ledges…

    • 28 Jun 2021
  • News From The Rock 83 - Seabird Count Update (Guillemots)

    After razorbills yesterday we're moving on to their close cousins, the common guillemot. With the smallest breeding territory of any UK bird, these gregarious seabirds can be found around large parts of the UK coastline, crammed precariously on ledges that look barely wide enough to support the adults let alone an egg and chick.

    Seabird colonies are noisy affairs and a lot of that emanates from this species - their…

    • 25 Jun 2021
  • News From The Rock 82 - Seabird Count Update (Razorbills)

    The first few weeks of June are busy times for staff on seabird reserves (its busy times for the seabirds too!). Nia and myself have just completed a full island count of all our auks (guillemots and razorbills, plus puffins on the North Bishop), fulmars and kittiwakes.

    Overall its good news, with one exception. Rather than bombard you with graphs and figures for all species in one blog, I'll do a short blog for each…

    • 24 Jun 2021
  • The Celtic Sea - Seabird Central

    The Celtic Sea is one of the UK’s most important areas for seabirds. Breeding, wintering or migrating, they utilise this sea area in their millions. However, it is fast becoming a hotspot for the next phase of offshore wind generation in the battle against climate change - what potential conflicts with seabirds could this bring?....

    The Celtic Sea (Y Môr Celtaidd) is the area of the Atlantic ocean lying to the…

    • 7 Jun 2021
  • News From the Rock 81 - Biosecurity

    **SCROLL FOR ENGLISH**

    Un o swyddi rheolaidd pwysig yma ar Ynys Dewi yw ein monitor bioddiogelwch.  Mae bioddiogelwch yn yr achos hwn yn cyfeirio ar fesurau sydd gennym ar waith i atal cyflwyno unrhyw rywogaeth estron i’r ynys.  Y prif anifail rydyn ni’n poeni amdanyn nhw yw llygod mawr.  Byddai cyflwyno llygod mawr i warchodfa fel Ynys Dewi yn cael effaith ddinistriol a radar sy’n nythu yma ac a radar y môr…

    • 24 May 2021
  • News From The Rock 80 - Who Lives In A House Like This?

    Depending on your age you will either be familiar with 'This Is My House' or, in old money, 'Through the Keyhole' (or maybe both!). This is the Ramsey version. Is bank vole, Manx shearwater or wheatear the true incumbent?  You decide.

    And what's that short eared owl up to?! Probably 'no good' in the real answer! The only reason I recorded the owl was because something had knocked the trail camera over …

    • 20 May 2021
  • News From The Rock 79 - Where is May going?

    I say 'May' but it has felt more like October at times. The dry April has been replaced by a wet and often unsettled May. The island was in desperate need of rain but the deluges we experienced on the bank holiday and the following weekend, accompanied by gales was not ideal. We lost two south west facing chough sites after the bank holiday storm. Relentless driving spray being forced into their breeding caves proved…

    • 18 May 2021
  • News From The Rock 78: It's Good To Be Back....(for a day!)

    At 4pm on October 31st 2019 with daylight rapidly failing, the last visitor of the season boarded the Gower Ranger and turned to wave. Little did we know then what was to follow. It would be 547 days before a visitor set foot on Ramsey again.

    But on 2nd May 2021 return they did. With the boat restricted to a max of 12 it was a small but enthusiastic group who paved the way. Nia gave her first talk as the new Ramsey Warden…

    • 4 May 2021
  • Ynys Dewi yn ail agor: Croeso nol!

    Gyda leddfu cyfyngiadau Covid-19 ar atyniadau awyr agored a daeth i rym yng Nghymru heddiw, rydym wrth ein boddau i gyhoeddi bod Ynys Dewi yn ail agor i ymwelwyr o dydd Sul 2fed o Mai.

    Gan nad ydym wedi gweld unrhyw ymwelwyr ers mis Hydrf 2019 (!), rydym yn gyffrous iawn am gwrdd a wynebau hen a newydd a’ch croesawu yn ol i fwynhau’r hyfrydwch sydd gan Ynys Dewi i’w gynnig.

    Fel y byddech yn digwyl, bu…

    • 26 Apr 2021
  • Ramsey Re-opening: Welcome back!

    With the easing of covid restrictions on outdoor visitor attractions that came into force in Wales today, we are delighted to announce that the island will be reopening to the public from Sunday May 2nd

    Having not seen any visitors since October 2019(!), we are very excited about meeting both old and new faces and welcoming you back to enjoy the delights that Ramsey has to offer.

    As you might expect, we have needed to…

    • 26 Apr 2021
  • News From The Rock 77 - Bit of a catch up

    Sorry for the tardiness in blog posts of late, time is flying by and we have been immersed in trying to get everything ready to hopefully be able to open to the public to some degree again soon (more detail to come on that next week).

    Chough continue to do well - 9 of the 10 pairs are incubating now. It looks like the 10th won't breed this year but it's possible they have switched sites and we are yet to find them! Although…

    • 19 Apr 2021
  • News From the Rock 76 - deliveries and breeding birds

    It’s been almost six weeks now since we arrived on the island and it feels like it’s flown by!  Every day is totally different with all sorts of jobs to do and the weather and tides play a big part in dictating what we do.  It's been very different to my previous job where I was office based (in my spare bedroom) 5 days a week! It's really nice to be active and to spend most of my days outdoors.

    Building…

    • 8 Apr 2021
  • News From The Rock 75 - Chough update

    Once again it seems like we have 10 territorial pairs of chough, 9 of which have been confirmed as nest building, the other may just hold territory and not breed - the jury is still out on them. Having spent the last 2 weeks of March prepping their nests deep inside caves and rock crevices, the first two pairs got down to the serious business and began incubating today. 

    The female usually lays around 5-6 eggs and she…

    • 7 Apr 2021