I back on the island again, and it’s a very different place this time. It has a completely different feel, it feels empty and stark. It’s deserted of people and most of the seabirds have departed too. What wildlife is left is having a hard time of it, though maybe it seems harder to me as I’m a city girl and not surrounded by this all the time. As I write this I’m watching a baby gull that has lost or been abandoned by it’s parents peck at a carcase of a rabbit that’s died a painful death from Myxomatosis. The gull is starving and is likely to be ‘Dead By Monday’ as they call them on the island. It’s very tempting to feed them any scrapes of food you have to stop this, but really it’s only prolonging their death and nothing else. It’s hard not to help when they make the begging for food noise they would have made to their parents, it’s heartbreaking. Maybe I’m just too soft when it comes to animals, nature is a bastard but it’s just nature. I don’t even like gulls, they kill the puffins on the island, so really one less gull would be a good thing. The worst to watch is the rabbits, Myxomatosis has spread rapidly throughout the island. Where you used to see thousands of rabbits darting into their borrows there is now a deadly silence, or a diseased rabbit struggling to walk and banging into things as their eyes are so swollen and painful they can’t see anything. Unfortunately the only thing to do is kill them then, which is hard to watch, even through a lens (I had to photograph it with my eyes closed!). Nature seems to be one big struggle. If it’s not the last few Pufflings trying to leave their nest and find the sea for the first time getting lost and panicking, then it’s the dying rabbits banging into walls trying to escape their imminent death, or the staving gulls, or the puffins having their fish for their young stolen by the gulls or worst being killed themselves by them, it’s all one massive battle. It’s not quite the fluffy idyllic island I experienced last time, where all the chicks were hatching and the island was bursting with new life. It’s more realistic this trip, and it really pulls at your heart-strings. As I write this over my breakfast cereal I give in and share the last few mouthfuls of it with the staving gull by my feet, maybe he will be Dead By (next) Monday now instead.