What a eventful Trip.
If Visiting the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast wasn’t enough, the remote Island of Skomer was the ultimate experience. With over 34,000 Puffins which I was told was a new record for Skomer in over 60 years.
The boat trip is merely a quick ten minutes across with the brilliant crewe pointing out birds and wildlife on the way. The remote Island itself is amazing offering home to not only Puffins but Short Eared Owls, Razor Bills, Guillemots, Manx shearwaters and many more.
For us our trip was made harder by the constant rain, but when your photographing sea birds the wet conditions doesn’t faze them. We boarded the boat at 12pm and again at 4.30pm which meant we had 4 and a half hours to explore the Island. With the weather being very bad it was important to go straight towards the Puffin nesting areas and try to get some photographs as quick as possible. This meant heading towards the Wick and walking up and down the coastal footpaths around that area. If you are going straight to the Wick it’s about a 30 minute walk, so i suggest a good pair of hiking boots and to pack as light as you can.
You can get really close to the puffins, they even walk across your feet as they are use to visitors so no big zoom lens are needed. This being said means you can pack light only needing a 300mm lens or a variable lens to take wide angle shots. In the wet weather it was essential for me not to keep swapping lens to avoid water getting into the camera and on the lens elements, so I used my zoom lens which is 150mm-600mm even though 600mm wasn’t needed. It gave me the versatility without swapping lens in the wet weather.
The Puffins continued there day as normal bringing back Sand Eels for their Pufflings, which stayed safely in the nesting burrows.
Pleased with getting the famous Sand Eel shots, I then concentrated on flight shots of the Puffins. A good tip is to watch a puffin leave, as there are so many flying around catching one in flight can be a bit of a nightmare, so watching one leave and following its flight path means you can track it in the air and see when it returns to what normally is the same area it left.
Then of course, what’s better than a Puffin in flight but a Puffin in flight with sand eels.
Just as we were heading back to the mooring area for the boat a Herring Gull was lurking around the Puffin burrows trying to steal Sand Eels off the Puffins as they arrived back from the sea, which lead me to being able to watch a Puffin with Sand Eels for a long period of time negotiating how to get back to its burrow, so I captured a close up.
All in all despite the awful weather we managed to have a successful trip and the Puffins definitely kept our spirits high.