Image from www.ayrshire-birding.org.uk
If your new year's resolution is to change your life and get back to the basics, have I got a job for you. Become the Warden of Skomer Island in Wales and you get to live in relative solitude with a lot of puffins and the world's largest colony of Manx shearwaters for the next 5 years.
Beware though: it is not too peaceful. There are 128,000 pairs of the seabirds and they are very noisy all night long. It's also not The Best Job in the World (the publicity-stunt competition last year to find someone to live on an island on the Great Barrier Reef). There are no palm trees, in fact, no trees at all and there is little sun and lots of wind.
Image from www.geograph.org.uk
Skomer Island is 21/2 miles long and has no roads, shops or pubs. It is a 20 minute boat ride to the mainland, however the ferry often doesn't go because of strong winds. It's very ecological, with wind and solar power, so there is lots of hot running water. There is a second island, Skokholm, which is part of the job too. It is all managed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and they run it as a nature reserve, with educational opportunities.
For company you will have the puffins and shearwaters and 6 volunteer assistants. During the visiting period, April to October, there are lots of daytrippers.
The real natural spectacle is the arrival at dusk of hundreds of thousands of the sheerwaters. They spend their days out at sea and by nigh incubating their eggs and making a lot of noise.
Image from www.welshwildlife.org
But there are other natural glories as well. It is covered with bluebells in the spring. In addition to dolphins, seals and porpoises, here are the birds that the present wardens saw in the month of October: one montden: Common Scoter, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, Fulmar, Guillemots and Razorbills, Hen Harrier, Merlin, Peregrine, lots of Kestrels and Buzzards, Golden Plover, Snipe, Curlew, Turnstone, Barn Owl, Little Owl, Short-eared Owl, lots of Black Redstarts, Fieldfares, Song Thrush, Redwings, a Mistle Thrush, the last few Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest, Brambling, Siskin, Linnet, Redpoll and lots of Reed Buntings.