Manx Shearwater Skulls

These are some of the Manx Shearwater skulls I found on Skomer Island in Wales. When I got home I had to clean them up by pulling off the feathers that were still left on and then putting them in hot water so I could clean up the skull.

If you look at the photos one of the skulls has thinner sections in it, I think this one is a juvenile bird and the skull hasn’t finished growing.

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Skomer Night Boat Trip August 2013

When we were still in Wales we went on a night boat trip to watch the Manx Shearwaters and Puffins come back in to land on Skomer.

It was really fun, I saw loads of puffins some were really close, some had sand eels in their mouths for their young.

When all the Manx Shearwaters come in, they land on the water in groups it is called rafting. They all fly into land when it is dark in big groups, so they don’t get eaten by the gulls.

I loved Wales, there was loads to see, can’t wait to go back.

Skomer August 2013

When me and my family went to Wales we went to Skomer Island by boat, it was really exciting, it took 20 minutes to get there. While we were waiting we saw loads of Moon Jelly Fish.

We stayed on Skomer for a whole day and explored the island, we saw Puffins, Fulmars, Manx Shearwaters, Chough, Peregrine Falcon, Gulls, Grey Seals, rabbits, butterflies, lots of dead birds and Sexton beetles, these are beetles that eat up the dead bodies of animals and birds, they have a lovely red and black pattern on them and they are about 2.5cm long.

The dead birds were Manx Shearwaters that the Great Black Back gulls had killed and eaten, but had left their wings and heads. I bought some of the dead birds home, they didn’t have any flesh on them, just dried skin and feathers.

I had a fantastic time on Skomer, it was really fun. I loved seeing all the different birds, I couldn’t believe how many different ones I saw in one day.

Common Shrew

A friend bought this shrew down for me because their cat killed it. I decided to preserve it so you can see the whole shrew.

First I had to put it in a jar with methylated spirits for 6 months, this preserves it but you can’t see much because the liquid is purple, so I changed the liquid to vodka after 6 months.
You can see the wound on its side that the cat made, you can even see the shrews whiskers.

I have preserved a dead bat the same way and I will put pictures on in a while.

Common Shrew
Size body: 5.5-9cm, tail 3-6cm
Young: up to four litters of 6-7, April-August
Diet: worms, woodlice, spiders, beetles and other ground living invertebrates and seeds.

Teal Duck

This is the very first taxidermy bird I got, I saved up my pocket money and bought it myself. It was in an old case with other birds, but the case had been broken so the birds got sold one by one. I bought the male Teal duck because I like the pattern and the bird.

About Teal ducks:
They are the smallest common surface feeding duck, they are very agile and quick when they are flying. They are normally in groups of 20-40 along well vegetated or muddy shores and wet marshes.
Nesting: down lined hollow near water; 8-11 eggs;1 brood; April-June.
Weight: 250-400g
Wingspan: 58-64cm
Lifespan: 10-15 years

Cormorant

We went to Thornes beach to look for fossils, I found some fossilized snail shells, turtle shell and crocodile skin.
When we were down the beach I found a dead Cormorant, it was already decomposing, so I took the head and put it in a bag. I have found quite a lot of dead sea birds this year, I don’t know why. When I got home I put it in the garden to finish decomposing, I put a crate over the dead animal so the flies can get in but nothing else can.
The photos show the skull after the flies have finished cleaning it up and I have washed it, I am going to think about whether to clean it up any more.

From the back of the skull to the end of the beak is 15cm.
Its beak is 78mm long.

Cormorants and Shags are like each other to look at, but Cormorants have white under their beak, Shags don’t, they have a black short crest on their head.
Cormorants catch fish in long underwater dives from the surface. It can feed in quiet estuaries and in lakes or rivers.

Nesting: They have a bulky nest made of sticks in trees and on cliff ledges, 3-4 eggs, 1 brood in April-May.
Length: 80-100cm
Wingspan: 1.3-1.6m
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Weight 2-2.5kg