Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sheer Cliffs and Shearwaters

Made a point of getting out at first light this morning and having a stroll about the fields with my bins, saw passing flocks of Fieldfares, Lapwings and Starlings. It was pretty quiet as I left the village but as I was coming back and the early morning sun had broken through the cloud the birds were really giving it some, it felt like a fresh spring morning with the unusually mild weather and them singing their little hearts out. Got a lovely view of little flock of Bullfinches too.

I like morning silhouettes :)

But anyway, the reason I was posting today. I thought I'd draw your attention to a book a friend has written, named "Sheer Cliffs and Shearwater" A Skomer Island Journal. I was very lucky to spend two months on Skomer Island at the southern tip of Pembrokeshire in Wales as a Long Term Volunteer back in 2011. It was a fantastic experience and Dr Richard Kipling has captured the wonderful memories of the people, the flora & fauna and much more in this cracking little book. Richard was the Field Assistant over the 2011 season and responsible for much of the seabird surveying on the island including the monitoring of breeding success. A keen naturalist, Richard has a great knowledge of botany and was the first person to turn to when wanting to identify a strange or unfamiliar plant!

This book is a great read and the memories all came flooding back for me and no doubt the rest of the Skomer team, a real insight  into the day-to-day running of the island, looking after visitors and general management of the island. I would highly recommend it for any nature lover who has ever visited Skomer or has plans to, if you just have an interest in the natural history of islands or if you just love natural history! This journal is very informative and a lot of fun too :)

You can buy your own copy of the book here:

And a Facebook page has also been set up here:

As a further note, I had a lovely surprise waiting for me at the end of the book when I saw my own website get a mention which I'm very grateful to Richard for, while I was staying on the island I painted up a couple of bird identification boards to brighten up the two bird hides, they are mentioned in Sheer Cliffs and Shearwaters and here's a couple of pics too:

Resident Birds. Moorey Mere Hide, Skomer Island
 Acrylics. Donation to Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales

Resident Birds. North Pond Hide, Skomer Island
Acrylics. Donation to Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales


  1. You certainly get about a bit Meg, the posters look great, thats a real talent you,ve got there.

  2. I don't really paint as a rule but using what I had available to me on a small island the two boards were bits of wood that I could recycle, varnished up them came out pretty well I think! Great fun to do and hopefully makes a bit of a difference to folk visiting :)