Pembrokeshire (part one)

Right so here it is, the holiday post.  As some of you may be aware I have just got back from a week in Pembrokeshire.  Living in the landlocked Midlands it is a great opportunity to catch up with a number of coastal specialities.  I absolutely love the coastline there (especially in the St. Brides bay area) and Bev and I visit there every couple of years.  For this holiday we were also joined by Bev's sister (and fellow wildlife enthusiast) Natalie.

Sunday 13th May
Today we headed to Skomer Island.  We arrived early to buy our ticket from the kiosk (allocated seats these days, much better) and checked if the ferry was was!  We had about an hour to kill before our ferry was leaving so we headed up to the nearby are know as 'the Deer Park' at Martin's Haven.  There were Common Whitethroats and Stonechats everywhere and as we walked towards 'Wooltack Point' we were treated to cracking views of a 2 Choughs looking rather resplendent in the sunshine with their red bills, red legs and glossy black coats. 

Just before we started to head back we had terrific views of a Gannet plunge diving just off shore.  Gannets are one of my favourite birds.  Not only do they look great but they are so agile when they sweep back their wings and dive at the water like a bullet....a joy to watch!

On arriving at Skomer's landing platform we were treated to good views of an Atlantic Grey Seal that was swimming nearby.  Just right of the ascending steps were the usual (and probably Wales's most photographed) Razorbills, nearby there was also a group of half a dozen Guillimots. Of course I had to take a would be rude not to.  We had our first views of Puffins along the ascending track. 

During the walk around the island we had great views of cliffs supporting large numbers of Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Guillimots and Razorbills.  Off shore, Shag seemed ever present and inland there were large numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls

One of the highlights on the island is an area called 'The Wick'.  Here the rabbit burrows that the Puffins nest in are right next to the footpath.  These birds are so used to people they will walk within a few feet of you whilst going about their business.  It's an amazing experience and one I highly recommend.

Whilst over at the opposite side of Skomer we had views of 3 more Grey Seals laying out on the rocks next to the 'Garland Stone'.  Whilst watching the Seals a stunning Peregrine came gliding past the cliffs at near eye level.

After leaving Skomer we popped a couple of miles down the road from Martin's Haven to Marloes Mere with a view to seeing the 4 Glossy Ibis that have been present for a considerable time.  We were in luck and on arrival had views of them circling the mere before dropping out of sight.  Half hour or so later they were up again but this time they landed fairly close to the footpath giving what can only be described as incredible views!!!  The early evening sun was catching them just right to light up there wonderfully glossy green/bronze and red plumage. 

What a great end to a great day and it was only the first full day of the holiday!

Chough - Martin's Haven 

Razorbills - Skomer Island

Fulmars - Skomer Island

Puffin - Skomer Island

Click on YouTube logo to enlarge


  1. What a brilliant first day, Jason. Your walk around Skomer sounds like one to remember and your colourful photos are a contrast to the grey week we've had down here!

  2. Great description and photos of one of my favourite places, took me back there! Wooltack is also good for seal pups in Autumn/Winter. Glad you managed to catch the Glossies.

  3. Cracking shots, Jason. Very envious of your holiday. Not had one for 5 years :-(

  4. Hi Jase,
    Glad you had a good time :-) Reading that post makes me want to jack in work and go on holiday full time :-)

  5. Rob - Cheers mate, it was a fantastic day and the weather stayed good for the rest of the week

    Mike - Thanks. I have never done Pembrokeshire in the Autumn/Winter, maybe i should pencil that in for future reference

    Dean - Thanks. It was the first holiday that me and Bev have had for a couple of years (although I did sneak off camping in the New Forest for a few days last year).

    Warren - Cheers...had a great time mate. Thing is, the patch is going a bit quiet on the bird front now so it's time to focus my attentions on the inverts!

  6. Hi Jason, I am glad that you enjoyed a super holiday in Pembrokeshire! Skomer is a wonderful Island to visit and to get so close to the Puffins is magical!! The Glossy Ibis were a bonus for you, lucky you with such close up views! Love the video of them and also your images. I am looking forward to the next instalment.

  7. Thanks was a great week from start to finish. I had only seen one Glossy Ibis before and that was the Grimley/Holt bird that was present in the winter about 3 years back..that bird was in quite dull winter plumage but these summer plumage birds were something else!

  8. Loved reading your post, Jason. Great photos; and now I want a pet Puffin!

  9. Cheers Omi...I don't think they sell pet Puffins as yet...yop may have to make do with a canary ;-)