The Alderney Bird Observatory was established 1st March 2016 as part of The Alderney Wildlfe Trust.
ABO gets off to a cracking start!
Although only starting operations in March, the ABO received a visit from the team from BBC’s Countryfile in late April. Matt Baker and the team were able to catch on film just what a spectacular place Alderney is for bird migration – in fact it has surpassed all expectations with 3,500 birds ringed by the end of April.
ABO Warden, John Horton, and the Alderney Wildlife Trust team were able to explain how the ABO aims to become the 21st accredited bird observatory as it develops over the next two years and show the film crew bird ringing and recording. The crew was also introduced to Alderney’s spectacular display of migrant and resident moths thanks to the ABO’s light trap and the help of local lepidopterist David Wedd.
ABO is temporarily based in ‘The Nunnery’, the oldest standing building in the Channel Islands and the best preserved Roman small fort in the British Isles. Being of huge historic importance, the plan is to develop it into a publically accessible heritage site for the benefit of Alderney, which will also house the Nunnery Field Centre and ABO.
Once all the necessary permissions have been received, the funds necessary to equip the new Field Centre will have to be raised (please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring any part of the project), with plans to open the Centre in March 2018. John Horton, who as warden will be heading the development of the ABO and Field Centre, has generously agreed to undertake the warden’s role in a voluntary capacity for the first two years to get the project up and running.
The Nunnery was refurbished as an 18th century gun battery and then served as barracks, hospital, married quarters and farm. Finally it was converted to Resistance Nest ‘Piratenschloss’ by the Germans so there are a network of bunkers and machine gun posts (without guns!) in the Nunnery garden. Until recently it has been let as three residential accommodation units.
Work will continue for many years into the future to better understand the nearly 2,000 years of occupation.