With the new season fast approaching we took advantage of this unseasonable spell of settled weather to start on an important job in the harbour. Anyone who has visited Ramsey will know that the Gower Ranger ties on to a buoy that is attached to a solid lump of timber that supports the harbour steps. The existing pole has been in place for around 20 years but the base of it is now starting to severely corrode as it is covered by seawater on every rising tide.
We sourced a new pole and today took the first step of installing it. Derek and Steve brought it round on their excellent purpose built landing craft that has served the island so well (the boat was built by Steve and his team at Robust Boats)
Using a 12v portable winch we lifted the half tonne slab of wood out of the boat and using the sea as a buoyancy aid carefully positioned it. We then made sure it was securely tied on and will finish the job on the next set of spring tides next week - on a big low tide the foundation will need to be re-dug and the base cemented in before the old pole is removed from behind the new one. Finally the new pole will be bolted into place).
All this means we can safely welcome visitors to Ramsey on opening day on April 1st - and for the next 20+ years!
IF you would like to visit this year please Contact Thousand Islands Expeditions (01437 721721) for details
It seems to be one day on, one day off with the weather at the moment. Today was another fantastic warm spring like day after the rain of yesterday, but there is more unsettled weather to come over the next couple of days.
More signs of spring today with two new wheatears (both male again), a water rail (rare out here), a stunning male black redstart that possibly overwintered as it was in the exact spot we saw one last October and a cracking snow bunting that Lisa found this morning when looking for chough. It is the first logged since 2011 and a rare spring record with most of ours occurring in autumn and occasionally winter.
Most of the chough are on territory now but no signs of nest building yet.
Snow bunting on Ramsey today (photo: L Morgan)
After a wet and miserable morning the front cleared to leave a warm and sunny afternoon. It was too nice to be cleaning so we donned our bins and set off looking for migrants. We weren't to be disappointed as we discovered our first northern wheatear of the year on the earliest date for 5 years. All the way from its African wintering grounds a fine male (they always arrive first) was at Aber Mawr. Always a joy to see these birds as they are a sure sign that spring is not far away.
Not quite the first bird in Wales this year though as our friends on Skokholm beat us to it by 20 minutes! (there was also one on the Great Orme in north Wales today too)
Today's bird at Aber Mawr