After a period with little or no internet access we are back online again. Amazing we have internet at all out here, really! The title of this entry gives away that my job isn't all about walking around a World Heritage island admiring the views and wildlife. I have to keep on my toes to enforce our biosecurity policy - no covered boats at the jetty and watching like a hawk when the landing craft comes in from rat and hedgehog land (South Uist). In the middle of a heated discussion with a boat driver as to why his boat should not be alongside I saw a Basking Shark just feet away from us.
It has a been a good month for seeing these 'gentle giants' feeding on plankton in Village Bay. This should bode well for the Puffins too, for if there is abundant plankton there should be abundant small fish feeding on them. Already Gannets have sussed this out and dive to catch their prey right outside our window.
Another challenge I had to deal with was a paraglider who wouldn't listen to my advice. We are one of the most important seabird stations in the world and at this time of the year many statutory protected birds are nesting here. Seabirds can do everything at sea except lay eggs and raise their young - disturbance at this critical point in their lifecycle can knock out a generation of young seabirds. In spite of my advice to the contrary a paragliding enthusiast took off from the slopes of Oiseval compromising the future of young Fulmars, Arctic Skuas and Great Skuas. The latter, aka the Bonxies, take very aggressive action when the occasional Sea Eagle passes over. They scramble and intercept in no uncertain manner. This paraglider was lucky to land with his pants intact!
We can accomodate most outdoor activities at St Kilda - it's all a matter of timing. So if anyone wants to paraglide or take part in any other potentially bird disturbing activity, please get in touch and we can advise a good time - but please, not in the middle of the nesting season.
We have National Trust for Scotland Working Holiday Parties on St Kilda at present and one unfortunate lady had her holiday cut short by a fall and damaged wrist. This ensured she did not have to endure the return trip by boat to Leverburgh. I often get asked how one can get a helicopter ride from St Kilda. My answer is always to go and break something......We are lucky to have a Coatguard Helicopter based at Stornoway so after dealing with a more serious casualty, our volunteer helper was whisked away for treatment.
So having filled in the appropriate accident and incident paperwork, a few days grace before peace is shattered by civil engineering works to refurbish our landing craft slipway. Already heavy duty equipment has begun to arrive and it looks like we are going to be in for a noisy week or two!
So with all this going on I was glad to get away last Sunday afternoon to the far side of the island and put my feet up for a well earned rest!
No doubt more to relate soon.