I’ve been on Ramsey Island, the RSPB’s reserve off the coast of Pembrokeshire, since Saturday but due to my stupidity have been without the internet until now. I was planning to blog each day but will have to start with a post about the first few days of my two-week stay.
The weather has been a bit mixed so far with the conditions only good enough for boats twice since I’ve been here. Yesterday, following two boatless days, we had a bumper load of visitors with an almost capacity crowd of 78. I did my first introductory talk of the year to a full boat shed, which didn’t go too badly and I even got a business card from a wildlife tour leader suggesting I should do a bit of tour leading myself!
On my first full day, the sheep shearers came across in the late afternoon to de-fleece the 96 Welsh Mountain ewes. I was a bit more actively involved this year, particularly in the first task which was to split the ewes from their lambs. The lambs were born over a few weeks from mid-April and have grown a lot since, so the task of dividing them from the ewes wasn’t without some of effort.
The shearers again amazed me with how quick they could get a fleece off a sheep with about one and a half minutes being the standard. The closely-cropped ewes were soon reunited with their youngsters in the farmyard, all making a racket until they found each other.
I’ve also helped with manx shearwater surveys and did a house martin survey at the farmhouse (despite what others have said, I was definitely not asleep!). We also went out on Gower Ranger yesterday (the boat that links the island to the mainland) to do a kittiwake and fulmar survey of the cliffs that could not be seen from the island – a great way to do a survey!
The weather forecast indicates that boats may not come across for the next couple of days, so it will be quiet around the island again but I’m sure there will be plenty to get on with. There will also be more time to look at the scenery and wildlife which are as good as ever.