Skokholm Island Long-term Volunteering 2023
The Wildlife Trusts
Haverfordwest, United Kingdom
23 days ago
Lockley Lodge Visitor Centre,
Pembrokeshire, SA62 3BJ
Please e-mail (or post) your application forms to:
Giselle and Richard, Skokholm Wardens.
Post: The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales,
Welsh Wildlife Centre, Cilgerran, Cardigan, SA43 2TB.
There are two positions running from 1st April 2023 until 30th June 2023 and two from 1st July 2023 until 30th September 2023.
1st April until 30th June 2023 x2 volunteering positions
Spring is a fantastic time to be on Skokholm. The weather can be wild, cold and wet but suddenly there are signs everywhere that breeding seasons are fast approaching. Dark nights see the first of our 175,000 breeding Manx Shearwaters return to the Island and quickly the nights become a cacophony of whaling noises.
The first spring migrants begin to pass Skokholm and the Puffins return (from when evenings are spent counting the large rafts which congregate around the Island). The Razorbills and Guillemots return to the cliff ledges and the gulls begin to lay their eggs. Days are spent counting the nesting seabirds and seeing how the totals fluctuate each day and nights are spent taking guests to see the phenomenal Storm Petrel colony at the Quarry.
A subset of the Manx Shearwater population is monitored by playing their song into burrows and you will take on the responsibility of setting up the Fulmar productivity plots. Moth trapping and the morning census of migrant and resident birds provide a break from the seabird monitoring.
Choughs are secretive around their nests and the staff thus find themselves hidden among the rocks to look for incubation changeovers. The Peregrines and Ravens are more straightforward, as is the mapping of the vocal Oystercatchers. Much of our time is spent establishing seabird study plots and, as the spring progresses, monitoring a sample of each breeding species; this will be the basis of our productivity estimates.
All this, coupled with a long-term Puffin colour ringing study, a study of Manx Shearwater survival rates and the daily ringing of passage birds makes for a full-on but very rewarding time.
1st July until 30th September 2023 x2 volunteering positions
Our second team of long-term volunteers pick up where the first team left off. The productivity monitoring plots are established and most of the chicks have hatched, but we need to follow the progress of the Fulmar, Razorbill, Puffin and gull chicks to see if they fledge.
A large amount of time early on in the period is spent playing Storm Petrel song along several transects, thus allowing an estimate of crevice occupancy to be made. The staff take turns during several 24 hour periods to assess how many of the Puffins arriving with fish lose their chick food to the gulls. Many more visits are made to the Puffin study colony to try and see as many colour ring combinations as possible.
If the weather behaves, evenings are spent ringing adult Storm Petrels which often goes on until the early hours. Attention turns to the Manx Shearwaters in August with visits being made to our study plots to ring the chicks and monitor their development and fledging. A small number of Storm Petrel nests are also monitored throughout this period. More effort is spent seawatching for cetaceans and scarcer seabirds and moth trapping is at its peak.
Autumn migration picks up pace as August progresses and the daily census begins to take longer as the number of birds lurking around the Island increases. If the pond has dried out then there could be several days of hard digging as we continue to remove the sediment which has built up over the decades. September is an exciting month and much time is spent in the field counting common migrant birds and searching for scarcer ones.
This is a fantastic opportunity to work on one of Britain’s most spectacular Islands and to gain experience in a wide range of survey techniques. But it is not all about the monitoring work!
The successful applicants will be integral to all aspects of Island management, from providing sanitation and clean visitor accommodation to helping with boat deliveries and physical management such as pond digging.
Skokholm relies on bigger groups of volunteers for managing its infrastructure but your help will be needed too; in the spring work concentrates on getting the accommodation ready for guests (so lots of cleaning, painting and lime-washing), whilst in the autumn work usually focusses on the Lighthouse and other specific projects.
Each volunteer has their own bedroom at the Farm and share the same facilities as our paying guests; we are thus looking for people who are happy to spend time with our guests and share their passion for the phenomenal things which inhabit Skokholm.
No qualifications or specific experience are required as training will be given on the Island, however candidates who are working towards a career in conservation are preferred.
Additionally candidates who have previous volunteering experience, island experience, relevant qualifications such as a ringing permit or who are experienced birders will be well placed.
We are looking for people with enthusiasm for UK wildlife who have a desire to learn and get involved in a range of tasks. Candidates must be of a hardy nature as working days can be long and in a range of weather conditions.
Skokholm Island Long-term Volunteering Application Form 2023
- Skokholm Long-term Volunteering Application Form 2023