Skomer Island is owned by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, and is situated off the Pembrokeshire Coast. The Atlantic Puffin population is the largest in the United Kingdom.
The Puffins themselves are fairly habituated to humans, and so you can get very close to them without causing them to be disturbed, even during the breeding season.
We decided to re-visit Skomer – in memory of a photographer who died last year, and for whom this was such a special place, so it was a bitter sweet photo trip.
Three days were planned – with a day to travel each way, and a full day on the island – where I decided to fully embrace the puffin…. The weather was set fair, the boat trip smooth, and the birds were amazing..
I am finding these days, that climbing up to the top of the island with all my camera gear, much harder than it was in my younger days….. this getting older business is a very over-rated pastime. I can heartily say that I don’t really recommend it.
(Click on the images above to see them larger)
Getting so close sometimes meant that the camera could not get a focus lock on the birds, and I found myself backing off just to get them in the frame.
The weather did start to close in during the afternoon – with thick sea mist often obscuring the cliffs
Shots of the birds in flight, I did find very difficult – they fly like they’re clockwork toys, and they are incredibly fast too.
None the less – although a tiring three days, it was worth it doubly in memory of a great photographer friend, and to get shots of the Puffins in such lovely weather.
So, despite the sea mist, and a tinge of sadness, it was a truly wonderful experience – and if you’ve never been, I suggest you do. The only hard part is the 85 very steep steps up from the boat to the island. The staff are lovely, and have a wealth of detailed knowledge. So, if you do get to that part of the world – give it a go – you won’t be disappointed.