Jersey Invasive Species Week – 16-22 May 2022

16-22 May is Jersey Invasive Species Week. There will be plenty of social media interest during the week #INNSweek #getINNSvolved and a series of events, lectures and field visits highlighting invasive species on the Island and their impact on our native species and the environment. All lectures and events are free to watch or join but you will need to book your place. There are QR codes to book the events here; however, you can also use the link here

Monday 16th May – Introduction and impacts on terrestrial environment. Lunchtime Lecture by Cris Sellares at the Société Headquarters, 12:00Introduced Terrestrial Predators in Jersey and Biosecurity Around Seabird Colonies

Tuesday 17th May – Impacts on freshwater environment. “Walk in the Park”, led by Tim Liddiard at Noirmont 14:00

Wednesday 18th May – Impacts on marine environment and small islands. Lunchtime Lecture by Chris Isaacs at the Société Headquarters, 12:00 “Marine Invasives Through the Lens

Thursday 19th May – Impacts on people and urban environment. Lunchtime Lecture by Josh Smith at the Société Headquarters, 12:00 “Double Trouble: Invasive Species and Climate Change

And: “How to use iRecord” at Hamptonne 18:30

Friday 20th May – Biosecurity. Botany Walk with Anne Haden, 18:00 at Corbière

Saturday 21st May – Activities. Invasive Species Fair – Stall Day at Francis Le Sueur Centre. 9:30 – 14:30

And: Botany Walk with Tina Hull at 14:30 from the Frances Le Sueur Centre

 

April volunteer activity

Sunday 10th April 2022 –– St Ouen’s Bay, St Peter 10:30-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

Task Come along for a morning of invasive species removal with the National Trust for Jersey!

As part of the Trust’s ongoing invasive species management efforts, we will be removing purple dewplant from various locations along St Ouen’s Bay, to limit the spread of this invasive species.

If you have any questions, or if you wish to be added to the Wild About Jersey email list, please contact either Julia Clively (tel: 441600; j.clively@gov.je) or Jon Parkes (tel: 483193; jon.parkes@nationaltrust.je).

Booking: You will need to book a place to take part in this task here

The site Meet at The Wetland Centre, La Grande Route des Mielles, St. Peter.

Jersey Phone Directory Map 6, F12 Google maps here  

Time: We aim to start at 10.30. We will be finished work around 12.30 and plan to be off site by 1.00.

Parking There is parking across the road from the Wetland Centre.

Tools needed Some tools will be supplied but please bring gloves and a small garden fork if you have one.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather. We can supply a pair of gardening gloves if you don’t have them.

Children All are welcome, although we do ask that volunteers under 16 years of age are accompanied by an adult. Due to the uneven ground, a reasonable level of fitness is required.

Refreshments *Please make sure you bring your own mug or reusable cup* The legendary Kim the Kake will be on hand to provide refreshments when the work is done.

See you there!

 

 

Sheep on Les Blanches Banques

Plans to return sheep to the sand dunes of Les Blanches Banques and grazing to revitalise the grasslands

By Tim Liddiard

Les Blanches Banques

The sand dunes of Les Blanches Banques, set in and around St Ouen’s Bay in St Brelade and at the heart of the Jersey National Park is recognised biologically as being one the richest sites of its kind in the Island and has been described as ‘undoubtedly one of the premier dune systems in Europe for its scientific interest’. As the most extensive area of sandy soils in Jersey, the dunes support good populations of many animals and plants on the Island that are not found elsewhere.

During the Medieval period, the dune grasslands were used for sheep grazing and stacking sea weed to dry, the latter was used as fertiliser, or was burnt on the dunes to produce potash.

In the absence of a grazing regime on the sand dunes in recent years, due to the processes of seral succession it is evident that the important grasslands habitats are being subsumed by the spread of mixed scrub.

Currently an amount of grazing is being provided by rabbits but not at a level sufficient to halt or reverse the loss of the important dune grasslands, a key habitat in the Biodiversity Strategy for Jersey 2000 and home to a number of notable plants and a host of other wildlife.

A total of over 400 plant species have been recorded on Les Blanches Banques, many being unique or special to our shores.

Some of the plants found on the sand dunes which are recognised as being of scientific interest include the lizard orchid, with its flower resembling its reptile namesake; the dwarf pansy, in Great Britain only found on the Isles of Scilly and the Channel Islands, the heath dog violet which is Near Threatened in the UK and the sand crocus with its diminutive mauve flower.

Amphibians and reptiles enjoy life on the sand dunes, which harbours five of Jersey’s seven species. Palmate newt and slow worm are present but a visitor from mainland Britain will perhaps be more excited by the exotic looking green lizard with its emerald and aquamarine colouring. Also the western toad is found here rather than the common toad of Britain and northern Europe. The grass snake can be seen here on occasion, they are one of Jersey’s rarest animals and the sand dunes remains one of their few strongholds.

The blue winged grasshopper, the firebug, the Queen of Spain fritillary butterfly, the lesser bloody-nosed beetle, exuding a minute drop of blood when alarmed and the sand bear wolf spider which ambushes its prey from the entrance of its burrow are all invertebrates of particular interest to Jersey and our sand dunes.

 

The skylark, a ground nesting bird with an enchanting song is in decline across Europe and is a local Action Plan species, as is the stonechat, a bird whose call resembles the sound of two pebbles being knocked together. The chough, one of the great successes of the Birds On The Edge partnership is known to forage on the sand dunes and the conservation of the grasslands along with the addition of dung and its associated invertebrates will help provide these wonderful birds with an ongoing food source.

Grazing Plans

It is accepted best conservation practice to graze stabilised dune systems with livestock and the purpose of this project is to trial the grazing of Manx loaghtan sheep in scrub habitats and adjacent grasslands. These habitats have an abundance of burnet rose and other plant species which are becoming dominant over the more desirable dune vegetation which includes orchids, dwarf pansies, sand crocus and much more.

The area selected for initial grazing trials is on the escarpment north of La Moye Golf Club in an area known as Le Carriere. A combination of winter and summer grazing is the ideal, providing the chance to control holm oaks and other evergreens during the winter months and stripping foliage from other target plants (including privet, blackthorn and burnet rose) during the summer. Throughout the project the sheep’s food preferences will be constantly monitored with the hope that they will target the more undesirable plant species.

The sheep are planned to be on site from late February until May 2022.

Importantly, this area currently attracts a low level of public access and will not have a large impact on where people are able to walk.

Our thanks are extended to La Moye Golf Club for allowing the fenceline to tie into their existing fence which allows for a larger area to be grazed.

Benefits to habitats

• To prevent and reverse grassland succession towards mixed scrub within areas being grazed
• To maintain and increase plant species diversity within these areas and encourage some bare ground
• To introduce and maintain age mosaics throughout gorse and scrub dominated communities
• To encourage the reinstatement of species rich grassland especially in grassland ‘islands’ which are contained within the scrub area which are being lost to scrub
• To trial which plant species the Manx loaghtans forage on the most, thereby identifying their effectiveness in the control of scrub intrusion onto dune grassland habitats.

Benefits to species

• To provide bare ground for seed germination of dune grassland associated herbs and grasses
• To provide bare ground for associated invertebrate species
• To identify the effects of Manx loaghtan foraging behaviour on particular plant species , notably burnet rose, bracken, privet and blackthorn
• This area is recognised as being important for grass snakes and the creation of grass glades amongst the scrub will provide welcome basking areas for them
• There is a strong association and reliance between foraging choughs and short grassland, especially when grazing livestock and their dunging encourage the presence of dung beetles.

February volunteer activity

Sunday 13th February 2022 – Mourier Valley, St John 10.00 – 12.30

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

Task Join the National Trust for Jersey’s Lands team on Sunday 13th February to help maintain some of the many trees planted over the last two years, with the opportunity to plant some more. The activity involves tree planting and maintenance at Mourier Valley. This scenic area overlooks the valley with views of the northern coastline. https://jerseytreesforlife.org/

If you have any questions, or if you wish to be added to the Wild About Jersey email list, please contact either Julia Clively (tel: 441600; j.clively@gov.je) or Jon Parkes (tel: 483193; jon.parkes@nationaltrust.je).

COVID 19 You will need to book a place to join this task Jersey Conservation Volunteers Event Tickets, Sun 13 Feb 2022 at 10:00 | Eventbrite

Please follow the latest guidance on www.gov.je and to help keep us all safe we ask that you perform a Lateral Flow Test before joining the task.

The site Meet in the car park on La Rue de Sorel. Jersey Phone Directory Map 3 R2 Google maps here 

Time 10:00. It will be a short walk to the planting site. We will finish work at approximately 12:30 to give us the chance for a cuppa.

Parking There is parking close at Sorel Point.

Tools needed We will provide some tools and gloves but if you have any of your own then feel free to bring them along.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather and wear sturdy footwear. We can supply a pair of gardening gloves if you don’t have them.

Children All are welcome, although we do ask that volunteers under 16 years of age are accompanied by an adult. Due to the uneven ground, a reasonable level of fitness is required.

Refreshments (Please make sure you bring your own mug or reusable cup) A welcoming mug of tea and cake will be available to all who join us for the morning, which are kindly provided by Kim.

See you there!

October volunteer activity

Sunday 3rd October 2021 –– St Ouen’s Bay, St Ouen 10:15-12.30

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers 

Task

Join the National Trust for Jersey’s Lands Team this coming Sunday (3rd October) to help control the spread of the invasive non-native species purple dewplant along the coastal strip of St Ouen’s Bay.

Native to Southern Africa, this succulent was introduced to Jersey as an ornamental plant, where it has sadly escaped out into the wild. A comprehensive introduction/demonstration will be provided at the start of the task, but essentially this task will entail carefully removing purple dewplant by hand.

If you have any questions, or if you wish to be added to the Jersey Conservation Volunteers email list, please contact either Julia Clively (tel: 441600; j.clively@gov.je) or Jon Parkes (tel: 483193; jon.parkes@nationaltrust.je).

The site We will meet in the car park opposite the National Trust for Jersey Wetland Centre (Sands) 10:15 for a 10:30 start. We will be finished work by 12.30 for well-earned refreshments.

Jersey phone directory Map 6, F12 and Google Maps here

Parking There is parking close by, opposite the National Trust for Jersey Wetland Centre (Sands).

Tools needed Equipment will be provided but if you have a pair of gardening gloves and a gardening tub/bucket it would be helpful if you could bring them along with you.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather. We can supply a pair of gardening gloves if you don’t have them.

Children All are welcome although we do ask that volunteers under 16 years of age are accompanied by an adult.

Refreshments

After work we will sample Kim’s latest batch of delicious cakes, washed down with a well-earned cup of tea or coffee.

We very much look forward to seeing you on the day.

 

Islanders encouraged to join No Mow May

From Wild About Jersey
Islanders are being encouraged to consider joining the No Mow May campaign by not using mowers or strimmers for the whole of May.

The campaign run by the British conservation charity, Plantlife, asks you to leave your mower in the shed for No Mow May and let the flowers grow.

Research Ecologist, Nina Cornish, said: “No Mow May fits in well with our Pollinator Project which is a Channel Island initiative designed to prevent pollinating insects such as flies, beetles, butterflies and bumblebees from declining. Our animation highlights why ‘Protecting Our Precious Pollinators’ is so important and what you can to do help.

“This campaign is a fantastic opportunity for Islanders to do their bit for the environment. We see the most nectar and flowers in gardens that are mowed no more than once every four weeks. Every year around this time we see lots of hedgehogs injured or killed due to strimmers, so this campaign will also benefit their welfare.”

Islanders must still comply with Branchage rules by cutting any plant overgrowth that is obstructing public roads or footpaths. Branchage inspection will take place in June.

Senior Operations Manager of Park and Gardens and Cleaning Services, Bruce Labey, said: “Last year we updated the mowing regime to reflect current UK guidelines, so now we only mow a one-metre strip along most of our grass verges which still keeps us on the right side of the Branchage regulations, but allows wildflowers and grasses to develop which has a huge benefit to pollinators and wildlife.

“My team and I are excited to take part in No Mow May for a second year running, so if the grass looks a bit longer than normal, you’ll know why.”

 

October volunteer activity

Sunday 11th October 2020 –– Mourier Valley, St John 10.00-12.30

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

****Please note that due to Covid-19, you will need to book a place to attend this task through Eventbrite (here) and numbers will be restricted to a total of 35.

It is also advised that you bring your own tools, work gloves and a mug for refreshments****

Task Following on from last February’s task of tree planting at Mourier Valley, we’re asking the JCV to assist again this year, by helping us cut and clear the bracken covered valley edges ahead of this season’s tree planting. We will also be piling the bracken litter to be used as mulch when the trees are planted

Please meet at the car park at 10am to allow us to walk over to the site and start work for 10.30am. We will finish for 1pm.

If you have any questions, or if you wish to be added to the Jersey Conservation Volunteers email list, please contact either Julia Clively (tel: 441600; j.clively@gov.je) or Jon Parkes (tel: 483193; jon.parkes@nationaltrust.je).

The site Meet at Sorel Point top public car park (Jersey phone directory Map 3, R2) and Google maps here 

Parking Sorel Point top public car park

Tools needed Due to Covid restrictions we are discouraging the sharing of tools and ensuring that any borrowed tools are disinfected before and after the event. With this in mind, if you have your own sickles, rakes, forks or gardening gloves, please bring them along.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather and bear in mind how exposed the site is on the North Coast. Sturdy boots are recommended as we will be working on some sloped gradients. 

Children All are welcome, young or old although we do ask that volunteers under 16 years of age are directly supervised by a parent or guardian.

Refreshments Kim will be setting up her pop up café to treat you all when work finishes at about 12.30.

 

 

September volunteer activity

Sunday 13th September 2020 –– Pollinator patch creation. First Tower,  Saint Helier 10.30-12.30

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

****Please note that due to Covid-19 restrictions you will need to book a place to attend this task through Eventbright (here) and numbers will be restricted to a total of 20.

You will also be required to bring your own tools, work gloves and a mug for refreshments****

Task. Pollinator patch creation We are delighted to welcome you back to the first task of the autumn! We have been asked by some of the residents at First Tower to help prepare and sow some pollinator patches where currently there is just mown grass. We will mark out and prepare a seed bed by hand and finally sow with wild flower seed.

If you have any questions, or if you wish to be added to the Jersey Conservation Volunteers email list, please contact either Julia Clively (tel: 441600; j.clively@gov.je) or Jon Parkes (tel: 483193; jon.parkes@nationaltrust.je).

The site Please meet at the entrance to First Tower Carpark, La Route es Nouaux, St Helier: Jersey phone directory map reference 14 V16 and Google maps here

Parking Close by

Tools needed We are following Government guidelines regarding Covid-19 so please bring your own gardening gloves, spades, forks and rakes to avoid sharing tools. As ever please dress for the weather.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather, coats, sturdy boots/wellies and waterproofs may well be needed!

Children All are welcome, young or old although we do ask that volunteers under 16 years of age directly supervised by a parent or guardian. And everyone must book through Eventbright! 

Refreshments We will meet at 10.30 and aim to finish at 12.30 for a cuppa (please bring your own mug) and piece of Kim’s Kake (missed you Kim!).

Book your place through Eventbright here 

Plastic found lining UK seabird nests on a worrying scale

From The Conversation

From the packaging our food comes in to the clothes we wear, plastic is everywhere. We know that seabirds eat it and get tangled in it, but we are only just beginning to explore the impacts this has on their health and survival. This is really important, particularly in the UK and Channel Islands where many species, such as the northern gannet and Manx shearwater, breed in greater numbers than anywhere else in the world.

Many seabird species are in drastic decline. A recent report found that in the last 18 years, the UK population of European shags has fallen by 24%, kittiwakes have reduced by half and Arctic skua populations have shrunk by 70%.

But what is behind these declines remains something of a mystery. Overfishing and climate change are thought to be key drivers, but despite knowing that plastic is widespread in their environment, we currently lack even the most basic data on which seabird species are affected by this pollution and how.

Before we can effectively deal with any threat posed by plastic pollution, we need to understand the scale and type of effects it’s having. A new study is a first step towards this, uncovering evidence that Scottish seabirds are not only ingesting plastic, but they appear to be accumulating it in their nests.

Unpicking the impact of plastic

The study looked at five European seabird species – cormorants, European shags, great black-backed gulls, herring and lesser black-backed gulls. The latter four of these are of “Conservation Concern” in the UK according to the RSPB, while cormorant, shag and herring gull are included in Jersey’s ‘red list’ due to their declining or vulnerable populations.

Plastic pollution was intimately intertwined with the nesting behaviour and daily lives of these species, possibly affecting their breeding success and survival. 32% of herring gull nests, 53% of great black-backed gull nests and, worryingly, 80% of European shag nests contained plastic. Even worse, 39% of herring gull pellets – regurgitated bits of indigestible food – also contained plastic.

Plastic in nests is known to ensnare adults and chicks, often with fatal consequences. For some species, the nest must keep the egg warm and dry. It’s not clear whether plastic could be altering how well the nest warms its occupants or allows liquids to drain, but any changes could affect hatching success. Equally, the range of colours plastic comes in may affect the nest’s camouflage, making eggs and chicks more vulnerable to predators.

The study found clear differences in the type of plastic in herring gull nests from that contained in their pellets. This may reflect differences in where this species collects its food and its nest material. The ingested plastic was a variety of colours and types, including fibres, packaging and hard fragments, suggesting it might be found in an urban environment or in a landfill. But the nest plastic found was only sheet packaging, the sort more likely to wash up on the shore closer to their home.

This kind of information can help us begin to understand how effective different efforts might be. If the plastic used for making nests is collected from the shore before nest building begins in early spring, like during beach cleans, it could limit the impact on particular seabird species.

As nationwide lockdowns have eased during the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented levels of plastic waste have been left on UK beaches. We’re only just peeling back the surface on how this pollution harms wildlife. But as the evidence mounts, the urgent need to prevent plastic entering the environment becomes ever clearer.

The study The prevalence and source of plastic incorporated into nests of five seabird species on a small offshore island can be seen here

 

Most wild bee and native plant species networks lost over last 100 years

From EurekAlert

Climate change and an increase in disturbed bee habitats from expanding agriculture and development in north-eastern North America over the last 30 years are likely responsible for a 94% loss of plant-pollinator networks a new study has found. Despite this study being from North America it is hard to imagine that Jersey has fared very differently.

The researchers looked at plant-pollinator networks from 125 years ago through to the present day. The networks are comprised of wild bees and the native plants they historically rely on, although most of those have now been disrupted.

About 30% of plant-pollinator networks were completely lost, which translates to a disappearance of either the bees, the plants or both. In another 64% of the network loss, the wild bees, such as sweat or miner bees, or native plants, such as sumac and willow, are still present in the eco-system, but the bees no longer visit those plants. The association is gone.

The remaining 6% of the plant-pollinator networks are stable or even thriving with pollinators such as small carpenter bees, which like broken stems for nest making.

“There are several reasons for the losses in the networks. Climate change is likely the biggest driver. We know that over the last 100 years or so annual temperatures have changed by two and a half degrees. This is enough to alter the time when certain native plants bloom,” says author Professor Sandra Rehan.

“For a bee that’s out for months on end or is a generalist pollinator, this isn’t such a critical mismatch, but for a bee that’s only out for two weeks of the year and only has a few floral hosts, this could be devastating.” An increase in non-native species of bees and invasive species of plants, which have displaced some of the native species, is another reason for the decline in networks. “We are getting a lot of invasive species and new records of invasive species every year. This is usually accidentally through trade and through ornamental plants,” says Rehan.

A lot of these bees live in stems, so it’s easy to import plants with non-native bee species without knowing it. “We can actually show routes and means of invasion biology,” she says.

These bees are following shipping routes from one continent to the other around the world, including North America through ornamental plants for our gardens.

The researchers say an increase in habitat restoration and native flowering plants in agricultural landscapes are critical for improving wild bee biodiversity, but also food security for humans.

Bees and other pollinators are worth hundreds of billions of (US) dollars globally by pollinating the crops we eat, and wild bees are at the top of the list believed to pollinate more than 87% or 308,006 flowering plant species. Many of these are economically important commercial crops, such as apples and blueberries.

“There is an urgent need to gain a deeper understanding of the environmental circumstances affecting these wild pollinator populations and their specialised, evolutionary relationships with plant communities,” says Rehan. “Plant pollinator webs are dependent on changes in the landscape, so knowing how these networks are shaped is important for all regional habitats.”

Previous recent research by Rehan and team looked at 119 wild bee species over 125 years and found 14 declining and eight increasing species. All of the wild bee species in decline are native (to North America) and over half experienced significant range (latitude and elevation) shifts.

Paper Wild bee declines linked to plant-pollinator network changes and plant species introductions