Please note my new ‘warden’ email address is [email protected] for bookings and enquiries.
After prolonged fierce weather from the West during mid/early March, some welcome South and East winds over the last few days have seen migrant birds pouring in keeping our new assistant warden Joe England and I on our toes recording and ringing. Joe has returned to us having previously been our assistant warden during the autumn migration of 2016. 300+ Chiffchaffs have been ringed over the last 4 days along with our first few Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Swallow. This morning a Hummingbird Hawkmoth visited our ringing room at the observatory but the stand out recent highlight was an unexpected migrating bat species. Joe spotted the bat flying around outside the observatory gates at about 4pm on the afternoon of the 19th March, after landing for a few minutes high up on the obs gable end it took flight again landing in a nearby tree where Joe was able to get the rather unorthodox photo (below). The bat was left alone to rest and was later seen briefly at dusk, again flying around the obs. Examining the photo that evening we felt sure the bat was a Barbastelle Bat (one of the British Isles rarest species found in ancient woodlands). By the following day two prominent UK bat experts had verified our identification as correct. An amazing record, the first ever for Alderney.
It’s an extremely exciting and busy time for us. The ABO is attending and delivering a presentation at the International Bird Observatories conference in Israel next week. We also feature in the April issue of ‘Birdwatching magazine’. More about these and a full round up of our spring migration (to the end of March) will be included in our next blog going out early April.
John Horton , Warden, Alderney Bird observatory.