What is life like when you’re the warden of Lundy Island? We took a trip on MS Oldenburg to meet Dean Woodfin Jones and find out.
It’s been a busy first three months in the job for Lundy Island’s new warden, and it doesn’t look set to slow down any-time soon.
Self-confessed bird-lover and island man, Dean Woodfin Jones, came to the island in January to take on the new role.
He grew up in Northern Ireland, but after studying marine biology has lived on islands in Scotland and Greece.
Dean has formerly worked as a marine taxonomist, an ornithologist and an island ranger, before finding himself upping-sticks and moving to Lundy.
Since then he has become trained as one of the island’s coastguards, led snorkel safaris and rescued injured peregrine falcons.
And this year will be a big one for the island – with its first full sea bird survey, and Manx Shearwater survey, since 2013.
It was great timing for Dean, who can often be found sat by Jenny’s Cove, watching the nesting birds through his binoculars and preventing anyone getting too close.
“It’s going to be a big year for the sea birds,” Dean told the Gazette.
“The RSPB is coming over and we are going to do a survey on the Manx Shearwater, which are our nocturnal sea birds.
“They have been doing very well so I hope the results will be good.”
This year’s full sea bird census, with help from Natural England volunteers, will also include counting Lundy’s puffins –which the island is named after.
Last year, 82 breeding pairs were counted, thanks to the eradication of rats in 2006, which caused the population to drop to as low as just eight pairs.
“I hope their numbers will be up this year too,” said Dean.
For Dean, working somewhere with so much bird and wildlife on his doorstep is the perfect occupation.
Improvements also began this week to St Helen’s Church, after lottery funding was secured for the project.
The new educational centre is anticipated to open in October, and can be used by groups to take shelter from the weather.
“I’m really enjoying my time here so far and I’m looking forward to the summer,” said Dean.