Terns are tagged, gulls are geared, sparrows are spreading… our job is done, yet we are still here. This is part of the hazards of working on a somewhat remote island: you never know when you are getting on and certainly never know when you are getting off. Up until a few days ago, there were 8 of us (human that is) on the entire island. That’s about 0.23 people /km2, or the equivalent density of the Falkland Islands. Five horse-loving tourists arrived on the island a few days ago. The island is suddenly over populated, it’s time to go, yet we are still here. As we see it, we are sharing our accommodation with them. In their eyes, it’s probably more them who are sharing their accommodation with us as we were supposed to leave on the same day as they arrived. But the weather decided otherwise. After a beautiful month with limited days of rain or fog, the fog arrived earlier this week, in all kinds of shades and thickness, and no plane can land in this weather on the hard packed sandy beach that we familiarly call the “airport”. It’s now Thursday and we are getting ready to spend another extra day (or is it days?) on the island. Once the frustration is put aside, it gives us the opportunity to tweak our set-up, to check on the status of our birds, and to catch /band a few more sparrows. As much as we appreciate being here and would gladly spend more time on the island, we all have plans for the rest of the season, and are getting itchy for the next adventures. Not knowing if today is going to be the day we are flying home makes for awkward planning…. Island living, there’s nothing like it.
Ingrid Pollet (still on Sable Island)