A diary with a difference…..

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First ever Glossy Ibis sighting on Flat Holm!

 

This Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) is a migratory bird that is hardly every sighted in the UK – usually less than 4 are spotted every decade. So imagine the surprise the Flat Holm staff experienced when an ibis, presumably having taken a wrong turning on its way to Africa, was spotted perched on some elder in the middle of the island!

This individual seems to have been sighted in several places around the UK. You can follow rare bird movements, including bird visits to Flat Holm, here: http://www.birdguides.com/species/species.asp?sp=024022 .

 

Delicious Lamb for Sale!

Flat Holm Island is proud to announce the sale of boxed and jointed Black Welsh Mountain lamb. After the success of the pork sales a few months ago we are expecting a high demand for this limited run of fresh meat. The lambs, which were born on Flat Holm and raised in the Welsh Valleys, will be available for just £7.50 a kilo (£3.40/lb), with the approximate price of half a lamb at just £50. Order early to avoid disappointment!

The Box will include the following!

1 x Shoulder of Lamb

1 x Leg of Lamb

1 x Rack of Lamb

6 Loin Chops

3 Chump Steaks

Breast of Lamb

The lamb will be available for collection from a refrigerated van at Cardiff Barrage Car Park on the 13th February and 20th February from 5pm – 6:30pm

To place your order please call Alan on 02920 877912.  A credit or debit card payment of £40 is required to confirm the order with the balance payable upon collection.  Please state the desired collection date when you call.

Buying this lamb will benefit the Flat Holm Project directly, thank you for your continued support.

Sam

Christmas Photos

Hello All

Apologies for the delay but here are the pics of the Christmas Holiday.  It was a fantastic success, everyone had a brilliant time.

Like I said previously our four guests arrived safe and sound after a fun speed trip across the channel, landing on East beach laden down with loads and loads of food and most importantly mine and Sophia’s Christmas post.  Hurray, food and gifts.  We had the wood burner going all day so the farmhouse was all toasty and welcoming.  We greeted the guests with homemade jam tarts, chocolate and banana cake and cups of tea, it was a very tasty greeting.

We had plenty of walks around the island and I gave a few informative tours of the history and wildlife, greatly helped by Gerry with all his knowledge of Flat Holm from a lighthouse keepers point of view.  Wonkey (the island pet sheep) joined us for one of the walks but I think he got jealous of all the attention the Soay’s were getting and soon wandered off on an adventure of his own.  Whilst I cracked on with readying the food each day, Sophia kept everyone busy with a few more rambles round the island, including one down onto West Beach to gather driftwood for the fire.

We had a few working sessions in the wildlife garden, weeding the raised beds and laying more weed suppressant down and even got some wood chopping done.  Nothing like a bit of gardening on a chilly Christmas morning, helps make some space for all that turkey dinner and christmas pud.  Christmas Eve we all went up to the Gull & Leek for a few island drinks and then visited the pub again on Boxing day afternoon.

Once again it was a pleasure sharing this wonderful island over the festive period.  We shall of course be doing it again in 2012, so why not join us for Christmas or New Year 2012.

I look forward to seeing you all again this year when the new season starts.

Best Regards

Matt

Warden

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all of our followers, thank you to everyone who has supported Flat Holm through 2011, it has been a challenging yet brilliant year!  Best wishes to everyone for 2012, come visit us soon!

Sam W

Cardiff, taken from Flat Holm Island on NYE 2012.

Christmas has arrived.

Hello all.

Christmas has arrived on flat holm. Myself and Sophia have been flat out cleaning and prepping the island. The pub looks amazing as does the farmhouse. I will put pics up soon. You will be pleased to know our Christmas guests survived the boat over. They have settled in well, we had a lovely dinner and are now relaxing in the farmhouse lounge. A few of them have even met wonkey already.

The weather forecast isn’t brilliant but we will endeavour to have a wonderful time. I will take everyone on a few tours round the island making a special stop at the fog horn station. One of the guests is an old keeper who lived here for 5 years, so we are looking forward to sharing some of his memories of flat holm.

Like I said I will get a few photos up tomorow and do my best to keep you up to date with Christmas on flat holm. I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all my wonderful staff and volunteers who have worked so hard this year. Thank you everyone.

Matt
Warden

Finally….. An Update!

Well, it’s been a while.  Apologies to everybody.  Unfortunately, the more work there is on the island, the less time we have to update the blog.  I’ll try to summarise what has happened over here on Cardiff’s own Sunny Isle since the last (very brief) update (all the way back in July).

This has been a big year for farming on the island.  Our three little pigs grew up fast, incredible to think quite how fast.  They were wonderfully natured, well trained, and soon became island favourites.  They were brought on to the island for two reasons, and they were great at both.  Firstly; conservation purposes.  Bracken provides great habitat for a wide variety of invertebrates, this in turn provides food for small birds and slow worms.  It is however spreading slowly across the island.  Traditionally we would pull bracken, but this doesn’t necessarily destroy the rhizome, and the bracken soon returns.  Pigs are actually able to safely consume bracken, and will actively dig out the rhizomes.  We used them in the lighthouse keepers garden, and as they grew bigger, we moved them into a paddock where they did a great job, turning the soil and destroying the bracken, only time will tell, fingers crossed that it doesn’t all grow back.  Their second reason was of course food.  To be completely honest, I wasn’t sure how I would feel about eating them, but I knew that they had had very happy lives, they were happy pigs.  I think it is much better to know where your meat has come from, and it’s important that the animal has been treated kindly throughout its life.  And they taste delicious.  One bite and I was sold.  We used a local Cardiff award winning butchers, G & J Braithwaite to produce what I think are the best sausages I have ever tasted.  All of the pork is now sold, but watch this space, we may very well get more piggy’s next year!

Our lambing has also gone very well, in fact out birth rate far exceeded our expectations, and we have moved our Black Welsh Mountain lambs onto the mainland to prevent overgrazing on the island.  We will be selling lamb in January 2012, please get in touch if you would like to purchase any, you can email Sam: sawhitfield@cardiff.gov.uk

Wonky the lamb continues to grow, and at one point he seemed to be sporting a rather snazzy mohican.  He has won the hearts of many volunteers and work experience students alike.

All of our summer volunteers have now flown the nest, a big thank you to all of them, Marta, Pete, Sam S, Chris, Ben and Jo, good luck in the future!

We have now been graced with so many new volunteers, Anna, Cally, Chris, Gemma, Sophie.  Having so many vols on the island will hopefully help move forward some of our bigger plans.  The Fog horn cottage is coming along in leaps and bounds, fingers crossed it will be ready to open to the public next year.  Bob ‘The Builder’ Pugh has been busy sealing off the Victorian part of Driftwood and the Ablution Block, new windows and window frames (thank you Lee and the Flat Holm Society!).  The Farmhouse has had a fresh coat of paint, our wildlife garden, despite the tenacious nettles, is definitely moving forwards.

Our pub, The Gull and Leek, or The Ghoul and Leaky Cauldron as it became during our very successful (and spooky) Halloween weekend, has gone from strength to strength.  Rumour has it that even island staff visit the pub occasionally.  Incidentally, a big thank you to Trina, Zoe and Lucy, who helped set the whole thing up!  Thank you!

Below are a lot of photos, if you have any questions, please ask!

We are slowly working on a Welsh Speaking version of this Blog too, this can be found at www.ynysechni.wordpress.com.

Education Update!

The winter season finally upon us and we are already taking bookings for education trips next year. So, if you know of any schools, community groups or societies that may be interested in visiting us next year please tell them to get in touch soon! In the mean time we are busy designing new material and updating our Island education programme. We will be out and about in 2012, delivering workshops in schools but also appearing at local events so please keep an eye out for us!

 

Sam W

Conservation Warden

Wonky Run Video – Click the picture!

You can now sail from Weston!

If you live on the English side of the Bristol Channel, you can now visit our wonderful island from Weston-Super-Mare!  Please visit www.mwmarine.org for full details, or click the link at the top right for sailing times.  You can book your trip from Weston-Super-Mare by phone..

Telephone:  01934-636734

Mobile:        07754-833158

We still have places left on our conservation weekends.  If you would like to get more involved in the island, or even if you are just looking for some conservation experience, then get in touch.  This is a unique opportunity to contribute to the island!  Staying overnight is a truly unique experience, and it’s so cheap!  You’ll even get to explore the island at low tide, something that isn’t possible on our day trips!

The following dates are available – group bookings possible!

July 29th – 31st: Adult Conservation Weekend

£50.50 per adult

August 5th – 7th: Family Conservation Weekend

£50.50 Adults,

£36.00 Children (17 years and under)

Prices include boat trip, 2 nights accommodation and guided tours.  We have a fully equipped catering kitchen for you to use, you will need to bring your own food.  Please ring the office to book your place!

02920 877904 – Open office hours, leave a message and we will get back to you, or email fla

Flat Holm pigs on the tele!

Not only are they great little (well, not so little anymore), ploughs, finally our pigs are famous!  Take a look at the Royal Welsh show on BBC iPlayer: Flat Holm report begins at about the 13 minute mark!

Flat Holm on the Royal Welsh Show: CLICK HERE!