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Week two: Iolo Williams' magical wildlife island

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Roger Webb Roger Webb | 13:58 UK time, Monday, 23 May 2011

For week two, Welsh wildlife expert Iolo Willams and the Springwatch Adventure Team celebrate spring at what is we think is one of the finest of Welsh wildlife locations - Skomer Island. It's a small rocky island, one mile square, sitting off the western tip of Pembrokeshire.

Iolo Williams

It's home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, a mammal found no where else on Earth, one of Britain's most spectacular floral displays and the seas that surround it are teaming with some of our richest marine life. Designated as one of only three of Britain's marine nature reserves, it's truly stunning, unique and beautifully magical.

Springwatch camera teams have been on the island since early April when the first puffins, razorbills and guillemots arrive back from their long winter at sea. They'll be filming all these characters setting up home, courting, building nests and laying eggs ... working towards what will be the main event for both them and us - their chicks being born just as Iolo and the Springwatch Adventure Team broadcast live from Skomer.

They'll also go under the waves to reveal the rare sea fans, corals and inquisitive grey seals in Skomer's underwater world, as well as the sand eels that feed and power much of the breeding action back on shore.

How many of these sand eels can a puffin family get though in breeding season? Will we be able to show you the unique Skomer vole? Why is one of the world most spectacular displays of the bluebell - a woodland flower - found on an island with no woods? What happens at a short-eared owl's nest? Can we see puffin chicks hatch out in their underground burrows?

128,000 pairs of Manx shearwaters breed on Skomer every year, a third of the world's entire population of the species and the single largest colony anywhere in the world. Using data downloaded from geolocators, the team will investigate at the amazing annual migration of these birds, who spend the winter 6,000 miles away off the coast of South America.

Our week on Skomer will explore all of these questions and many more as we immerse ourselves in this Welsh wildlife utopia.

Update 6 June: Producer Dan Rees has posted some lovely photos of Iolo and the team getting ready for his live week in Skomer.

Roger Webb is the Series Producer of Springwatch, which starts 8pm Monday 30 May, BBC Two


  • Comment number 1.

    Skomer is an absolutely magical place. I stayed there several times as a volunteer in 1980 and 1981 and it is one of the best places I ever worked. This was long before the posh facilities, we camped in the farm buildinngs carrying water from the well and using a chemical loo that had to be emptied. The Shearwaters are the highlight with the amazing noise at night, whilst one morning I found a Skomer Vole asleep in the packet of breakfast cereal. I even got to visit the Storm Petrels on the terrifying slope above the Mewe Stone in the company of a seabird ringer.

  • Comment number 2.

    You can find out more about the wildlife and habitats featured in this year's Springwatch on http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/nature/sites/species/

    Check out this stunning underwater gallery for Skomer Marine Nature Reserve with more colourful sea slugs than you can shake a stick at - http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/nature/galleries/skomer/

    Wales Nature blog - http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/walesnature/

    Springwatch is in Wales after all, so come and have a look and perhaps Roger can add some links? :)


  • Comment number 3.

    the mystery bird could be a Shearwater?

  • Comment number 4.

    How lovely to see Iolo on Springwatch. I used to watch him on BBC Wales with my late partner and we always thought he was such a great presenter he should be on 'mainstream' BBC.
    Well done Springwatch! :)

  • Comment number 5.

    I agree with Fengshui168. I really hope Springwatch and BBC use Iolo more often. Springwatch has been a real treat this year.

  • Comment number 6.

    Really enjoyed watching Iolo on Skomer this week. I'd love to see more of Iolo on the BBC and Spring/Autumnwatch. He has a very amenable natural style of presenting and is very knowledgeable. Please let's have more of him!

  • Comment number 7.

    What happens when a Manx shearwater's partner dies? Do they find another partner?

  • Comment number 8.

    I always enjoy Springwatch, its a fab programme pity it cant be Allyearwatch !!! All three presenters are great and Kate has amazing hair!!! Its fasinating to learn and see interseting things about wildlife, especially Birds, and some of the films and pictures people send in are great. Much appreciated. This week I was glued to the TV and your great Webcams, brilliant. I though Iolo Williams was sound, and I could have listened and watched him all night, skomer was stunning, especially the awsome Puffins they just make you smile. Great to see the Island doing so well. I was on Anglesey last wk at the R.S.P.B. at South Stacks Lighthouse, its was great , fab views, lots of Choughs and Guillimots and saw a couple of Puffins, I will be buying some new Binoculars though, for next time. We have two Indian Runner Ducks at home, Raymond and Jemima, they are the best, and have come in to the lounge, and watched Springwatch with us!!! Great TV....Look forward to more!!! Pls bring back Iolo Williams. Thankyou.

  • Comment number 9.

    I really enjoyed the coverage from Skomer Island (and indeed all of Springwatch)
    my favourite bit was when Iolo was able to hold the Puffling..am jealous..it was so cute.
    I loved the webcam from the Manxie burrrow too.. we had the pleasure or the unfortunate to have a little Manxie stranded in our garden last summer who was safely returned to the sea with great TLC!!

    Just wondering whether there are any Gannets on Skomer? It seems a great place for them to hang out....Y/N

  • Comment number 10.

    I really enjoyed watching all about Skomer Island on Springwatch. I live in Pembrokeshire and have visited Skomer a couple of times. My question is why was there no mention of the choughs on the island given that it is wonderful that it is only in the last few years that they have started to breed on there? I saw them when I visited there.

  • Comment number 11.

    Good week last week, loved Skomer and Iolo Williams was great. Liked his style should be on Springwatch as presenter.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Iolo Williams's magical wildlife island"

    Williams is singular - it is one Iolo Williams - not a group of Iolo Williams.



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