A diary with a difference…..

A Volunteer’s Perspective…

Hello everyone, my name is Niall Galloway and I am one of the trainee wardens on Flat Holm Island. I came to Flat Holm to gain experience in conservation, with the aim of pursuing a career in this area.

In my spare time, I like to take photos of the animals on Flat Holm. I have a Nikon D5000, with a Sigma 150-600mm telephoto zoom lens, a Sigma 105mm macro lens and a 1.4x teleconverter.

One of the first photos I took was of a slow worm here on Flat Holm. the photo was taken with my macro lens. Part of the work I did here was to carry out surveys for slow worms. The slow worms on Flat Holm are unique as some have larger blue spots than the ones on mainland U.K.

The second photo is of a lesser black-backed gull chick. One of the reasons Flat Holm is a nature reserve is that it is a major breeding site for the lesser black-backed gulls in the U.K. During the peak of the breeding season there is around 2,500 breeding pairs on the island.

I managed to get a photo of one of the peregrine flacons. A pair of peregrine flacons use the cliffs around the island to nest and raise their young, with one chick successfully fledging this year.

This photo of a chiffchaff shows just one of the many species of birds that pass through Flat Holm. During the spring and summer months the gulls dominate the island but during autumn a number of species stop off on the island during their migration south.

I used my macro lens to get this photo of a common lizard. Common lizards, also known as viviparous lizards, can give birth to live young unlike the majority of other reptiles, which lay eggs. This allows them to survive in cooler places than most other reptiles. They can even be found North of the Arctic circle.

The next few photos are of the kestrels that visited the island during September and October. After coming back to the island after some time off we were greeted by the sight of the kestrels, which made for a great surprise. We spotted up to six of them on the island during this time. They came over to feast on the vast quantity of grasshoppers.

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