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The Puffins of Skomer Island

  • by Heather Lampard
  • 09 Jul, 2017

June took Jim and I to Skomer Island in Pembrokeshire where we came up close and personal to some of the island’s most famous residents - the Atlantic Puffins. Equipped with cameras and binoculars, we couldn’t resist turning our expedition into a film to share the puffin love and tell their summer story.

We didn’t go to the island just to film, the trip was actually a Christmas present from Jim. Puffins have been on my wildlife watch list for quite some time so you can imagine the excitement that ensued when I opened my present that morning! Six months later, puffin season began and I could cash in my present. We bought a tent, packed the world into our little car and off we went to the Pembrokeshire coast. We camped on the mainland, pretty much opposite the island at a place called Westhook Farm. I highly recommend it and not just for the convenient distance. You pitch up right on the coast so every day you can enjoy the sheer beauty of the place (although it was very chilly, even by Jim’s standards). 
This was the view from our tent <3

We woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed, and with a little nudge from our neighbour we pegged it to the lodge to buy our tickets. It turns out people arrive from all over the world with what can only be described as puffinmania. People queue up for tickets from 7.30am, way before the boats are due to leave! Luckily we arrived in time but we didn’t realise that you had to buy a boat ticket and a landing fee costing us £42 for the both of us. It’s going to a worthy cause so I’m more than happy to pay, but it did make me question how the price tag makes this wildlife experience inaccessible to so many.

I loved watching the puffins fly past with beaks full of fish.

The boat to Skomer was squished full of anorak-clad twitchers (apart from Jim who braced the sea spray in shorts and T shirt) umming and ahhing over the black specs dashing over head as both puffins and razerbills flew out to sea. Eventually we pulled up to the island and were greeted by the loveliest Wildlife Trust volunteers. Before they could let us loose on the island they gave the all important introduction speech. The golden rule for Skomer exploration is to stick to the path at ALL TIMES! There are three burrowing species on Skomer - puffins, Manx shearwaters and rabbits. This means the island is like swiss cheese and one wrong step could be disastrous for whatever creature is living inside a burrow!

The handsome Razorbill

We headed straight for the puffin stronghold where puffins are literally at your feet! Both Jim and I had never seen one before and we felt like children again. Can you remember waking up Christmas morning with an overwhelming bubbly feeling in your stomach? Well if you can, that's how we felt! There’s something about their clown-like faces and clumsy waddles that makes your heart jump into your mouth! I think anyone would be completely enamored by them!


We rented a 150-600mm Sigma lens for the trip to make sure our photos and film would be good quality. Our own lenses just wouldn’t have cut the mustard and looking back on the photos, it was the best decision we made!!

The island is rich with wildlife from penguin-like Guillemots, graceful short-eared owls to beautiful blooms of Red Campion lining the paths. Every inch of the island is a feast for the eyes! It’s one of those rare places where nature truly owns the land and humans are but guests, invited for a short window of time to witness the life that makes the island what it is. We could have made hundreds of films there, but with three batteries and only four and a half hours we stuck with puffins. I hope you love the film as much as we loved making it! 

You can get incredibly close to the puffins making it all the more special!

We would love to know what type of blog you'd like to see on our website! Would you like to know more about how we make our films, perhaps you want biology-based posts or guest blogs from the interesting people we meet? Let us know in the comments below so we can make the content you want to read! Thanks for reading - Heather x

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by Heather Lampard 09 Jul, 2017
We didn’t go to the island just to film, the trip was actually a Christmas present from Jim. Puffins have been on my wildlife watch list for quite some time so you can imagine the excitement that ensued when I opened my present that morning! Six months later, puffin season began and I could cash in my present. We bought a tent, packed the world into our little car and off we went to the Pembrokeshire coast. We camped on the mainland, pretty much opposite the island at a place called Westhook Farm. I highly recommend it and not just for the convenient distance. You pitch up right on the coast so every day you can enjoy the sheer beauty of the place (although it was very chilly, even by Jim’s standards). 
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