Plus lots, lots more! When visiting on hot, sunny days, remember there are no trees at all on Skomer Island. It was a straight 200m drop down below onto the rocks. There were hundreds of these seabirds flying high above us on the island, but the puffins still managed to outnumber them by quite some margin. The Wick is the most popular area for puffins and, therefore, visitors to the island. >> If you like wildlife, take a look at my recent post on where to spot wildlife in the UK for even more inspiration . Skomer Island. But, the peak puffin breeding season is around May and June. I go to Skomer every year and spend half the day on Puffins then stroll across to try and spot the short eared and little Owls which live near the farmhouse. Not all wildlife encounters require you to hop on a plane. To protect the wildlife on the island, there is a daily limit of 250 boat tickets and it is on a first come first serve basis. You’ll need to buy your landing pass from Lockley Lodge, which also sells souvenirs and last-minute snacks. In spring and early summer the island is carpeted blue, pink and white by one of the best wildflower displays in Britain. Lockley Lodge officially opens at 8:30am, but can also open at 8am during the peak season. We couldn’t believe our luck when this little fellow landed right in front of us with a beak full of sand eels, ready to feed its family. Skomer Island, lying less than a mile off the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, is a world renowned wildlife paradise. Sorry, there are no tours or activities available to book online for the date(s) you selected. (with their hot coffee and tea in hand). The farm at Skomer Island with views of the landscape. If you want to see the Atlantic Puffins on Skomer Island, visit between April and July. Skokholm Island was beautiful with more Puffins and Grey Seals (plus Kittywakes, Razorbills, Guillemots, Shearwaters and a few Fulmars). Being able to get so close to the puffins allowed for some very special sightings. A huge number of puffins were flying around the coast, every now and then landing on the rocks. You’ll need to pay the boatman as well for your boat ticket, which costs £11 each for adults and must be paid in cash in addition to the landing pass. I remember coming to Skomer for the first time, on a beautiful summer day when I was maybe five or six years old. West Coast Tours for the Treshinish Isles: Over two hours will be spent on Lunga where you can visit the puffin colony, then time on Staffa and two hours on Iona to explore and seek out the rare corncrake. Best places to see puffins in the UK. Keep reading to understand how to see the puffins on Skomer Island in Wales. Time of Year to Go. Whilst in queue waiting for Lockley Lodge to open, I trekked up the hills for stunning coastal views and some wildlife encounters (mostly birds). The colours are so vivid they can easily be seen from the mainland. Puffins, razorbills and guillemots surrounded the boat. You can visit Skomer on a day trip (approx 10am-5pm) – information here. Their bodies are perfectly suited to the sea – their short wings help them to ‘fly’ through the water in search of food, and their beaks help them catch multiple fish in one go. The Puffins on Skomer Island. Skomer is managed by … Skomer puffins. These beautiful creatures arrive on the island in early April ready to nest, and disappear again at the end of July when the pufflings no longer need parental support. Your email address will not be published. In fact, when youngsters first leave their nests, they stay at sea for 2 years before returning to land for the first time. August – September: Though the puffins may have left by now, August and September are the best months to see seals and their pups following the birthing season in late August. You can also notice the patches of Bluebells in the distance. 2) Stock up on your liquids and food, there is no cafe or anything for sale on the island. I remember my lad and i. walking up to the edge to try and spot the seals down below bobbing up and down in the water and i always get shivers now when i reminisce about how stupid i had been taking my boy close to the edge. The Puffins return in April to start nesting and laying eggs at the start of May. They’re relatively difficult to see with the naked eye, but thanks to my telephoto lens and our binoculars we got quite a good view! It is ideal for photographing atlantic puffin, little owl, short-eared owl & … We’ll be looking at the best bits of the series. This sheer cliff is rammed full of seabirds, mostly guillemots and razorbills, which you can hear just as well as you can see. There is some money involved though. This meant that there was a good 3 hour waiting time before our allocated boat departure time. Before us was the impressive 100 metre high sea cliff, with a sheer drop and the screeching of seagulls filling the air. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The outward boat runs at 10am, 11am and 12pm, and returns at 3pm, 4pm and 5pm, but they often put on extra boats during the peak season. Skomer Island is perfect for the natural environment. They were fascinating to watch – their small wings make them clumsy flyers, so they have to spread themselves out in order to land safely. Advise is, best to arrive latest by 8.00am to be guaranteed boat tickets which sell out during peak season. Telephone 07975 723140. Land on Skomer Island – spend the day exploring the beautiful island nature reserve and see the thousands of Puffins, Guillemots, and Razorbills, along with a host of other birds and wildlife. Sleeping in Skomer Island’s self-catering accommodation gives guests a unique opportunity to watch the sunset behind the cliffs and see the Manx Shearwaters returning to their burrows after dark. The queue reached round the bend in no time despite the fact that Lockley Lodge only opens at 8.30am for boat ticket sales. Well, think again! Nature heaven. The island is open to day visitors from Easter to October, with a short boat trip from Martins Haven near Marloes. 3) Picnic mat would be nice, otherwise you risk sitting on rabbit poo! The exposed headlands, towering offshore rocks, and sheltered inlets of this fascinating island are home to a incredible variety of wildlife, both above and below the surface. Another bird we did see a lot of, though, was the Kittiwake – more commonly known as the seagull. That means you’ll need to follow a code of conduct, and listen to the advice of the wardens when you first arrive. The car park costs £5 per car, but you’re given a ticket and welcome to come and go throughout the day. They typically arrive around late April and stick around until July, though it is good to call ahead and ask if they have arrived or departed yet. We could have watched them for hours, but we remembered the warden’s advice to move on quickly so as not to disturb the birds and allow other visitors to get a look too. The boat can only sail in the right weather conditions, so do keep an eye on the weather before you decide to make a special trip. Puffins are one of the most well-known bird species in the world, and they can be found all over Skomer Island. We are then free to explore at our leisure, and will end the day with a sunset shoot at “The Wick”, which is the area of Skomer Island with the highest concentration of Puffins. You can buy water from the Visitor’s Centre, but there’s no cafe facilities or shop, so you’ll need to bring your own picnic to keep you going for your whole visit. From here, we continued clockwise, admiring the incredibly clear, blue water that had decided to bless our visit in the middle of July. After buying our landing passes at Lockley Lodge, we boarded our boat trip out to see the puffins with 48 other passengers, all squashed up together on wooden benches. This though, will guarantee seats on the first boat departure. I reckon best time to visit (minus the heat) would be in July/August when the young birds will be in view and the camomiles are in full bloom. There can be up to 3000 puffins on the island in addition to other seabirds such as razorbills, guillemots and fulmars. It goes without saying that you’ll want to bring your camera with you, but make sure you pack a variety of lenses too. To reach Lockley Lodge, park at the National Trust Car Park in Martin’s Haven (postcode is SA62 3BJ). Here’s what you could expect to see in each month of its opening season: When visiting Skomer Island, you’ll need to take all the usual day trip essentials, such as snacks and your camera, but there are a few other essentials you might not have thought of. Island webcam highlights and update from our Manx Shearwater burrow. Tips whilst on Skomer Island - 1) Hats and sunscreen are a must, there is absolutely NO shelter nor tree at all. No matter when you go to Skomer Island, there will be something different to fascinate you. We will also be going LIVE to our wonderful Skomer Island Wardens for the last time! >> If you like wildlife, take a look at my recent post on where to spot wildlife in the UK for even more inspiration. Skomer Island is only open to visitors between 1st April and 30th September, but closed on Mondays to give the island and its staff a well-earned rest. Manx Shearwaters and Puffins are taking over the burrows both inland and on the slopes, gulls have taken over the land! While the rest of the world’s puffin population is in decline, the number of puffins seen on Skomer Island is actually increasing! I wanted to see puffin birds and Skomer Island did not disappoint! As our day trip to Skomer Island came to an end, we stood on the jetty waiting for our 3:30pm boat back to Martin’s Haven. This Nature Reserve is managed by the Wildlife Trust and is an absolutely incredible place to visit. You’ll be on the island for a total of 5 hours, so make sure you have enough! We were watching hundreds of puffins bobbing about in the water, when we suddenly noticed a bloom of jellyfish (technical term!) Depending on what you wish to see (in terms of the breeding cycle of puffin birds), different months will offer different views. A puffin surveying its kingdom – The shot that best summed up our trip to Skomer. Though Skomer Island’s most famous residents might be its growing puffin population, there’s plenty of other wildlife to see too. floating alongside them. I’m Anna – an ethical adventurer and proud member of #TeamHerbivore. As swmbo has decided against coming up to Skomer I'm hoping to combine this years trip with a visit to Gigrin Farm and the Osprey Project. Required fields are marked *. Either place has plenty for someone with a camera. The toilet facilities are minimalistic and. Skomer Island Hotel Deals: Find great deals from hundreds of websites, and book the right hotel using Tripadvisor's 557 reviews of Skomer Island hotels. Skomer Island: Puffins Puffins Puffins - See 526 traveler reviews, 634 candid photos, and great deals for Skomer Island, UK, at Tripadvisor. Landing passes cost £11 each for adults, and they accept both cash and credit/debit cards. Please choose a different date. There is a separate Boat Fee, paid on the boat, which has to be paid in cash. It’s also possible to see dolphins and porpoises in the waters around Skomer Island, so keep your eyes peeled! Having decided it was not attractive enough we decided to drive a further 30 minutes through incredibly narrow and windy roads to the nearest supermarket, a LiDL, at Milford Haven to stock up on our picnic supplies. The trails are very well done and interesting for young ones. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies. New behaviour and firsts on the island! Conscious that we didn’t have too long before our boat left, we hurried along the path to The Wick, an area of the island that is known for its large puffin colony. While we didn’t see any on our visit to Skomer, we were glad to be contributing to their conservation by visiting the island and Gift Aiding our entrance tickets. Thanks to funding from The National Lottery, vital information has been collected on protected bird species on Skomer Island, despite the Covid-19 threat. It wasn’t long before we had our first sightings of puffins on Skomer Island! A wide-angle photo of the puffins at Skomer. When visiting during the peak season, I recommend queuing up as an early as you can to guarantee your place – they often sell out of landing passes in the first couple of hours of opening. For those who haven't seen beautiful puffins in their natural habitat, this is a must visit. Skomer Island, in Southwest Wales, is one of the most accessible and important seabird breeding sites in Europe. How to Access the Island (read thoroughly) Over half of the world’s population of the black and white birds nest at Skomer Island, but sadly only do so at night where they’re less likely to be troubled by seagulls. We started our visit by following the path from the landing point in the east towards the middle of the island. Unfortunately Skomer Island was closed because of Covid 19 but we managed to get very close to the island's shore line and saw thousands of Puffins as well as many other seabirds. What delight to come here to see the puffins in their natural habitat. We drove about 10 minutes to Marloes where there is a cafe for breakfast, the ONLY cafe within easy reach. Spring on Skomer Island is a colourful affair with bluebells and pink campion carpeting most of the island. Even though the puffins on Skomer Island get close enough for you not to need a telephoto lens, being able to zoom in close is one of my favourite things to do in wildlife photography. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in United Kingdom. We arrived at 7.00am to find there was already a queue of about 50 or so, and was told they had been queueing since 6.00am! It’s even a criminal offence to disturb them, so do look out! Skomer is open for day visits and overnight stays in its sustainably run hostel. Getting to Skomer Island. Puffin season on the Farne Islands is between April and July. We discovered that the best time to visit Skomer Island is in June and July when the puffins are breeding. Well known for its Puffins, yet there is so much more to the bird paradise including Manx Shearwaters, Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, Atlantic Grey Seal, Razorbills, Gannets, Fulmars and the unique Skomer Vole. Skomer Island is an important breeding colony for both Manx Shearwaters and Atlantic Puffin with some of the largest populations in Britain. >> Brush up on your wildlife photography before you go by having a read of my top tips for wildlife photography here! This short guide gives you all the information needed to visit this island to see the puffins and other wildlife. The Landing Fee is paid at Lockley Lodge when tickets are purchased, and this can be paid using card. Well done, Tom. Puffins spend most of their lives at sea, only landing on coastal islands in spring and summer to form breeding colonies. We finally got our boat tickets which was to depart at 11.00am and that comes with a return boat of a fixed time allocation at 4.00pm. However, be forewarned that this is a wildlife experience only be sure to carry packed lunches as only some bottled water is available here. This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Puffins will prepare to leave the island at the end of July. The people in the village hold Skomer Island really dear to their hearts. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. The first return trip is at 3pm, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to explore the island. The first puffins will arrive on the island during April, and hundreds of seals will begin to moult ready for summer. Skomer Island is a tiny, uninhabited island off the Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales. Reaching a crossroads, we took a left turn to walk clockwise around the island, knowing that the puffins tend to stick to the southern half of Skomer. Man, did he earn himself some brownie-points that day! more. I’ll keep you on. We visited in June, the puffin birds were busy fishing and bring back mouthfuls of small fish for their young (not visible). Skomer Island Puffin Factsheet The Puffin is the best-known of the British auks – its colourful and slightly clown-like appearance making it immediately recognisable. They’re not afraid of humans, but that doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy you getting too close. Unfortunately Skomer Island was closed because of Covid 19 but we managed to get very close to the island's shore line and saw thousands of Puffins as well as many other seabirds. The best sightings were yet to come. Near the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast, there is Skomer Island, a world-renowned wildlife paradise. It is possible to stay overnight on Skomer Island if you book far enough in advance. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. I think May is perhaps the best time to go - puffins, bluebells, sprite and manx shearwater abound. Here, the wardens will give us an introductory talk and I will explain the best areas for the Puffins, Short-eared Owls, bathing gulls and meadow birds. Make sure you stand behind the barriers and let the puffins come to you. When buying your ticket, you’ll be allocated specific boat time for the outward and return journeys – don’t be late! It is wonderful to watch the island slowly turn into this ever stirring, ever noisy and ever bustling with its own unique splendor asylum. Their distinctive orange beaks and feet make them incredibly endearing creatures, even earning them the nicknames of ‘clown of the sea’ or ‘sea parrot’. Equally, if it’s cold or wet when you visit, you’ll need to wrap up warm and take a raincoat, just in case. Stay safe. Just look at the detail you can see in those feet! So you thought you had to travel to Iceland to see puffins, eh? Skomer Island, being an island, is accessible by boat from Martin’s Haven. Skomer Island Hotel Deals: Find great deals from hundreds of websites, and book the right hotel using Tripadvisor's 557 reviews of Skomer Island hotels. Getting to Skomer the parking area is quite bare and if you don't reach early you are in for long queues. VISITING SKOMER YOURSELF. The particular highlight is to see the Skomer Island Puffins. Best Time to See Puffins on Skomer Island? You can check to see if the boat is running by checking the boat’s dedicated Twitter feed, which is updated every morning. A quick Google of things to do in Pembrokeshire (Wales) brought up Skomer Island. You can’t get too close to the seals, so binoculars will help you see them more clearly on the rocks. I took my son last year and we both had a really good day. Click to zoom in. All the visitors to the island seemed to congregate here too as it’s the best place to watch puffins on Skomer. It’s a sheer sea cliff where the vast majority of puffin burrows are, due to its slightly sheltered position. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments – I’ll be happy to help! This year’s puffin count recorded more than 21,000 individuals, the highest number ever. Skomer Island is one of a few places in the UK to see puffins. He showed us a map of the site and set the ground rules for our visit – stick to the paths to avoid disturbing burrows, remember all animals on the island are wild and shouldn’t be disturbed, and to only sit down and eat at dedicated picnic sites dotted around the island. Our Skomer Island Boat Trips afford a spectacular voyage, sailing across St Brides Bay to visit the home of 10,000 pairs of puffin and 165,000 pairs of Manx shearwater as well as a myriad of other seabirds.. Keep your eyes open for harbour porpoise and the occasional pod of common dolphin. The only negative i would say is that the wardens need to put signposts up near some of the cliff drop edges to warn parents to keep their children away. One of the best locations is the Wick; a sheer cliff carved with ledges that are ideally suited to nesting seabirds and easily viewed from the opposite cliff. Grassholm Island's inhabitants were more than fifty thousand Gannets (plus chicks) and was a wonderful colourful and noisy spectacle. My site contains affiliate links, which means I may earn commission if you purchase something after clicking on one of these links. This island is famous for puffins and the largest breeding colony of … The island … Thank you for supporting me and my blog 🙂. It was fantastic to watch them from this distance, going about their business completely undisturbed: swimming, diving, and interacting with each other on the rocks. It’s less than 3 kilometres square, making it the perfect size for walkers, hikers and wildlife enthusiasts like me to spend a day out. In fact, one of the best wildlife experiences I’ve ever had was right here in Blighty: Seeing the Skomer Island puffins. Its exposed headlands, towering offshore rocks, and sheltered inlets are home to incredible species of birds. Join me as I travel the world in search of ethical wildlife encounters, opportunities to get closer to nature and eat delicious vegetarian food. Then, we were free to explore. We took the 10:30am boat and returned at 3:30pm. We drove over to beautiful Pembrokeshire to Foxdale campsite in Marloes, west of Haverfordwest. The puffins on Skomer Island are Atlantic Puffins – the same kind you find in Iceland and Norway. Around this time last year, Tom surprised me with a birthday trip to Skomer Island. Mike, Claire & Alistair, Great day out but dangerous unsignposted cliff edges in some areas, Skomer island is a great day out for all. Seals are fascinating creatures! Is this a romantic place or activity that you would suggest for, Is this attraction a good place to visit on a, We took the 2 hour Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) Three Island Sea Safari provided by Dale Sailing and it was mesmerising. The Puffins on Skomer Island seemed to be posing for an album cover! In fact, the warden told us that Skomer Island is the most important island in the world for another very vulnerable seabird – the Manx Shearwater. The best way is to travel by car to Martins Haven. It was a lovely day and we are glad we came and is a must see attraction. We will be back when restrictions are lifted. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. If visiting Farne Islands puffins is the main thing you want to do on your trip, then you need to plan your visit right around the breeding season. Please also remember that Skomer Island doesn’t have any bins, so you’ll need to take all of your rubbish back home with you. That means there’s barely any shade, so make sure you cover up with loose layers and wear suncream. In the north of the island, there’s an area called the Garland Stone, which is where the Grey Seals tend to hang out. Located in Pembrokshire in south West Wales, this island is host to 6000 breeding pairs of puffins in the summer months. A style to improve on next time . When we visited, there weren’t that many around (we imagine it was too hot on the rocks for them to stay too long) but we eventually spotted a group of six near the water’s edge. Hi! Puffins spend the vast majority of their lives at sea, only returning to land to nest and feed their young. 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