Channel Islands birds in 2014

Great spotted cuckoo. Jersey 2014. Photo by Mick DrydenBirds On The Edge reported last year on the bird species that have been recorded throughout the Channel Islands (Just how many birds are there in the Channel Islands?). Well, each year the full list gets updated by bird groups in each of the islands and is now complete up to the end of 2014.

Storm petrel. Photo by Mick DrydenBesides including new species, we try to update the local status of each one to reflect just how they are faring. This is not always a nice job as so many species are declining so it’s always good to provide positive news. With European storm petrel remaining a rather enigmatic bird in Jersey (do they ever breed, hidden away somewhere?) we received a possible answer as to just where all the birds we see at sea and, occasionally, ring on the north coast might be coming from. In 2006 we said that storm petrels breed on Burhou (Alderney) once in large numbers but now scarce but annual. At the end of 2010 we revised this and added that there may be 150+ pairs. However, in 2012 we further changed this to say that there might only be 40+ pairs on Burhou. Well, now, following an analysis of ringing studies on Burhou we have revised the figure once more – to 1,000 or more pairs! True, this represents a better understanding of the birds rather than a definite increase, but it does give us something better to go on with the support for this bird and increase further the international importance of Burhou!

Caspian tern (2). Photo by Mick Dryden

Paddyfield warbler. Jersey 2014. Photo by Mick DrydenOf new species, Jersey fared best with the only bird new to the Channel Islands, a Caspian tern seen briefly over St Ouen’s Pond on 25th April. Jersey also recorded its very first great spotted cuckoo in March and a paddyfield warbler in September – both species already on Guernsey’s list. A great bustard was a remarkable sight in Alderney in November – this bird, the first recorded in the Channel Islands to leave the islands alive – was from the reintroduction project in England. The bustard stayed for five days giving some great views.

Great bustard Alderney 2 credit Martin Batt

Alderney recorded only its third ever garganey, Guernsey its third subalpine warbler and fourth Kumlien’s gull and Jersey its fifth red-rumped swallow. An unconfirmed report of two spoonbill in April would constitute only Sark’s second record of this increasing bird if accepted. Black-winged stilt were seen in both Jersey and Guernsey, while Guernsey further increased its grip on visits by red-breasted flycatcher and rose-coloured starling while Jersey did likewise with tree sparrow. Another Jersey highlight, of course, was the presence of a free-flying flock of red-billed chough! I must, however, reiterate that although 329 species have now been recorded in Jersey to Guernsey’s 325 there is no competiveness between the islands at all.

Download the full, updated, list here