This week we welcomed Simon Barnes to Alderney and the ABO. Simon is an established and successful author and journalist producing books, columns and articles on a range of conservation and the environment matters. We are delighted that he has accepted the role of honorary president of the ABO.
Moths have featured heavily this week with over forty species in the Obs trap on Friday and almost 100 species recorded this week. More common species have been in abundance, we are also seeing rare migrants from as far as North Africa. At Bibetts head today in excess of 50 Glanville Fritillary butterflies. Pyramidal Orchids are now flowering in several locations across the island. Migrant birds are still passing through with Cuckoo at Rose farm (1st June) 2 Yellow Wagtails at Longis common (29th May), Anne Isabelle Boulon had a Swfit over St. Annes 1st June. 4 Sanderling were seen at Platte Saline 30th & 31st May and there were 2 Wheatears at Tourgis (30th). The Little Grebe chicks are developing well on Longis Pond, Paul and Catherine Veron reported finding 4 separate Dartford Warbler territories, a recently fledged Buzzard was seen over Kiln Farm. Late morning 30th May Simon Barnes and I spotted from the observatory ramparts a distant large flock of 18 Terns passing beyond Fort Razz. Our island Common Tern colony had as yet not arrived at Bibette head this year (the traditional breeding colony site) and this late arrival has been a growing concern this spring as the days have passed, the colony remaining bereft of these majestic birds. In the afternoon whilst working with Aldeney tours we took in the magnificent views of the island from Fort Albert, from here I could see Terns at Bibette head, funnily enough about 18 of them, lets hope they are successful this year. 6th June the Tern colony had increased to around 50 birds and whilst making several attempts to count them I had a rare sighting for Alderney in the shape of 7 Greylag Geese in off the sea, the skein headed over Longis Bay and then high towards the airport. The Aldeney Wildlife Trust completed their annual ‘Wildlife Week’ this week. This was supported by the ABO leading a dawn chorus walk and a Lighthouse sea-watch. Over 70 people attended a talk at the bird Observatory (1st June) on the first year of operations of the ABO. This was followed by an excellent talk by Simon Barnes on his experiences and perceptions of the natural world.
Two Ringed Plover chicks were located by the keen eye of Sandy Robertson this week and subsequently Justin and I ringed them. These are the first individuals of this species to be ringed on Alderney since 1960 ! Most of the beaches here have now been closed to dogs from 1st June to September, this should offer these little chaps (pictured below) less disturbance along with the majority of our nesting and visiting shorebirds.