My autumn visit



Lucie, our Czech volunteer from the summer, was back for a week in autumn, these are her thoughts and pictures.  

 “I was very excited going back to the Isle of May and to see its autumn coat. I was warned about the weather unpredictability and didn’t know  the exact arrival date until just one day in advance. The sun was 
shining and made the RIB crossing very pleasant, however by evening the wind was picking up. Sunny spells constantly changing to rain and wind is the normal situation on the island, and going out  just for a short time means being prepared for all weather conditions unlike the stable weather during the main bird breeding season.
     

The island is a home to a quarter million of sea birds in the peak season, it was noisy giving me a feeling of a busy city then. Suddenly  it felt very quiet with only a few nesting sea birds left when I left  the island on the beginning of August. I thought that the island will give me a similar impression now. Only shags and greater black-backed gulls are the cliff wardens of the island at the moment. Walking through the island 11/2 months later felt, in contrary, alive due to the many migrants singing around, yet very calming and peaceful. The cold wind didn’t allow me to fell asleep under the pleasant blue skies. The tiny birds were flying around, talking to each other and I felt like playing hide and seek with them when I tried to find them looking  through my binoculars.    

 
 Green grass is changing colour into orange; thistles became a prickly  hay; the ever present beautiful sea campion is hard to see. The dying off vegetation is accentuating the feeling of a peaceful sleepy island. Yet it would be foolish walking around with closed eyes. Migrants will fly off the way, yet the island became a  home for thousands of seals that start making themselves comfortable anywhere on the island. I started to get used to them, yet it is difficult to always spot them – even for trained eye – as they appear like a big boulder. Like one day, when observing many seals from a safe distance. I turned around and saw a huge bull. We had to give him  enough space to move away. It would be a quite scary encounter with a huge 300kg seal. And as the days go by, there are more and more mums with new born pups  which means that the area to walk freely gets smaller and smaller.
 Therefore, I keep enjoying the day to day island tasks and day-dreaming with open eyes to protect myself and the other islands inhabitants until the weather will be safe to get off the island  again…”
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