Pembrokeshire Seabirds take a battering in the storms
If you’ve stayed in Wales Holidays cottages in Pembrokeshire and West Wales, you may well have taken a boat trip out to Skokholm or Skomer island, National Nature Reserves of international importance for their seabird colonies. While Skomer Island can be accessed via scheduled boat service from Martin’s Haven, visitors are not allowed to land on Skokholm unless on an organised day trip with the Wildlife Trust, who manage the seabird islands.
Now the Trust is saying that record numbers of seabirds have been killed in the storms that hit the Welsh coast this winter and some species are at risk. The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales say that birds have struggled to feed, probably due to exceptionally rough seas, and many have been washed up on beaches such as Newgale and Broad Haven. Normally the birds would sit on the sea and dive under to catch fish but, with the top few metres of water being so rough, it would have been difficult for them to do so. Dead seabirds, including razorbills, found recently on Pembrokeshire’s beaches were obviously malnourished.
Puffins are expected to live for about 25 years and would probably have been in the moulting season at the time of the storms. This means that they were growing new feathers, would have been unable to fly and hence became stuck in the storms. The Wildlife Trust asks that anyone who spots a bird with a ring on its leg should report the numbers to the British Trust for Ornithology. Skomer and Skokholm islands are home to over 28,000 guillemots, 20,000 puffins and 9,000 razorbills and are the most important colony of cliff-nesting seabirds in southern Britain.