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Skomer’s Puffins… and Owls?

Skomer Island is one of the UK’s iconic wildlife locations, home to thousands of puffins, shearwaters and around half of Wales’ breeding population of short-eared owls. Throw in some gannets, guillemots and razorbills and you have a seabird bonanza!

The boat trip over to Skomer Island is always exciting, you never know what you will see when you turn into the calm waters of North Haven, where the island’s landing point is situated. This year we were greeted by grey seals on the rocks, countless puffins, guillemots and razorbills rafting on the water and the sound of kittiwakes calling from across the bay. This is surely one of the UK’s ultimate wildlife experiences.

The island was a sea of pink and blue, with red campion and bluebells in full bloom across the plateau, and right by our accommodation was a breeding pair of short-eared owls. To stay on Skomer is a treat no matter when you visit, but to be here when everything is so picture perfect is a real treat. {img_alt}

For most visitors the puffins are what they come to see, but spending two nights on the island allows us to delve a little deeper. The island is filled with breeding passerines including some very cooperative whitethroat and the short-eared owls just got better and better. The group were blessed with countless photographic opportunities with the stunning floral display as a backdrop. {img_alt}

No matter what the weather on Skomer, you can be sure to have some remarkable encounters with a whole host of species. On this trip the puffins were most active in the evenings and the light showers provided some superb moments to capture the birds shaking off the rain. {img_alt}

On our final day, having left the wonders of Skomer Island behind, we headed out on a RIB to Grassholm Island, home to 39,000 pairs of gannets – the third largest colony in the UK. This is a breathtaking sight as the acrobatic birds come to and fro, going about their daily business. {img_alt} Some wonderful weather, cooperative wildlife and of course the perfect puffins, made this an excellent break along the wild coastline of Pembrokeshire.

Join Bret in June to photograph Skomer's Perfect Puffins (and owls!), or sign up to our e-news to receive notification of next year's dates as soon as they are announced.