Monday, August 22, 2011

THE GREAT BRITISH GARDEN TOUR, DAY 15

Arriving the previous night at our B&B on the Pembrokeshire coast, we were to learn the true meaning of being 'farmed out' It seems, despite our booking, because we were only staying for one night, we were to be 'farmed out' to a relative a couple of miles away. Although the accommodation was not really 'up to scratch' I have to say our hostess was delightful. She didn't mind at all the early breakfast at 6:30am and even went so far as to make us a packed lunch.

Destination Skomer Island, to view the puffins. We couldn't have picked a more perfect day. It made the wait for tickets down at the cove all the more tolerable.

This is the scene that met us when we arrived at 7:30 am hoping to get on the first ferry at 9:30am. Knowing full well that each trip across to the island would only take 50 people, it seemed pretty unlikely that we would be getting on that first ferry. By the time our turn for tickets came we found ourselves with tickets for the second ferry of the day at 10am. (There is a limit to the numbers of people they allow on the island to protect the nesting birds.) In the meantime we took a hike across the headland.

and beautiful it was. I photographed the flowers growing in what normally is a very harsh climate.

Foxgloves.

Sea pinks.

Here's our boat arriving. Make no mistake fitting 50 people onto this boat was a squash. As we neared the island we started to see puffins flying out to catch the small eels and fish they feed to their waiting young.

Taking the steps up to the cliff top where we were greeted by representative of the Wildlife Trust who briefed us on what to expect, where to go and what to see.

We then headed out on the trail.We took the route towards the Wick. We were here to see puffins!

The cliff top was a sea of red campion and bluebells.

We knew we had arrived at the spot when we saw this group ahead. The puffins were nesting in holes in the ground just above the edge of the cliff.

This one had just landed and was waiting to go down into its hole.




It was so easy to get close-up photographs of them. They were very willing subjects only keeping a watchful eye out for the Great Black-backed gulls who would really like to make a meal out of them. We also saw nesting Razorbills, Fulmars and Kittiwakes. No Manx Shearwaters. They were safe in their burrows. The Shearwaters ride the ocean winds all day, only coming ashore under the safety cloak of night. They are unable to walk well, crash landing on the ground, and must hurry to their burrow to avoid becoming the meal of the marauding black backed gulls. Moonlit nights are a problem for them and we saw much evidence of those who had not been so lucky to make it back to the nest.
Our visit was short but we saw what we came to see. Now we must get back tot he mainland and get on the road to Worcester. We had dinner plans with the friends with whom we were staying.

With long summer days we arrived in time to enjoy the late afternoon sun in the garden with a glass of wine and good friends. It was the end to a perfect summer's day in England.

Tomorrow more National Trust gardens in their area.

8 comments:

  1. The puffins are really interesting looking. This looks like a great place to visit....but I'm not so sure about the lines:(

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  2. 50 people on that small boat!? I would have been a little nervous.

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  3. Amazing! I can see why the line seems to go on forever. There is so much beauty to see. The puffins are so beautiful and adorable. Thanks for taking us with you on this phenomenal tour!

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  4. I've never seen a puffin - what a thrill to see your pictures! I love the picture of the queue - a typically British scene! And the scenery itself is just gorgeous. I've been meaning to go to the Gower peninsula for ages - I must get there one of these days.

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  5. Wow! I've loved puffins since I read about them in an Enid Blyton book (The Sea of Adventure?). What an idyllic place it looks in sunlight!

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  6. I am so enjoying your travels. Thanks for posting. Those puffins are darling looking. I wonder what their true disposition is? It was lovely to see you again in Seattle, and I'm sorry I've only now had time to let you know.~~Dee

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  7. Rohrerbot- Does that mean you pass on Disneyworld too? I don't care for lines much unless it is something really worthwhile and that was.
    danger Garden-The sea was as calm as a mill pond, or I would have had my life jacket on. They must have been there somewhere!
    Sage Butterfly-They are so darling and right there in front of you.
    Victoria- When I was at University we went to Rossilli for a week of Marine Ecology. We stayed at the Worm's HEad Cottage Hotel. It was just a simple place. We looked it up and it looks a lot more fancy now. Rebuilt probably. The coast near those islands i beautiful, especially on a day such as that was.
    Chookie- I remember reading Enid Blyton. Loved those adventure books. Still have a Noddy book on the book shelf and of course Rupert. Love that little bear.
    Dee- i suspect they are very friendly. They didn't seem to mind us. Just those rotten seagulls. It was a pleasure to see you again in Seattle, Dee. getting acclimatized to the heat again.

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  8. Those are great puffin shots! They are so cute. We went on a puffin watching cruise in Maine once, but we didn't get to see them at their nesting holes, as you did.

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