September volunteer activity

Sunday 12th September 2021 –– Devon Gardens, St Martin 10:30-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

We are delighted to be back! Join us this Sunday at Devon Gardens, St Martin, to improve habitat for wall lizards

Task Great news! The wall lizard population at Devon Gardens is on the increase thanks to JCV’s previous hard work but there is still more we can do to remove areas of dense ivy and agapanthus threatening their habitat.

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 the bottom of the gardens, ready for a 10.30 start. We will be finished work by 12.30 for well-earned refreshments.

Jersey phone directory Map 11, LL15 and Google Maps here 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.

Parking There is on-road parking as well as several public car parks nearby and parking on the pier. Note: You may need a disc or scratch cards depending on where you park

Tools needed Tools will be provided but if you have a pair of secateurs, pruning saws or loppers bring them as they will be useful.

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

 

 

Restoring the chough to Kent

From Kent Wildlife Trust and Wildwood Trust

Choughs were once an iconic species on the White Cliffs of Dover. Kent Wildlife Trust along with partners, the Wildwood Trust, English Heritage and Paradise Park, are bringing an aviary of choughs to Dover Castle for the public to experience a forgotten history.

Learn all about the choughs’ rich, but perhaps forgotten, Kentish heritage embedded in legends such as the murder of Thomas Becket, and immortalised at Shakespeare Cliff in King Lear.

These iconic birds, which are part of the crow family, fell victim to intensive farming practices and historical persecution, leading to widespread extinction with only small populations surviving in Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man (and Jersey).

Can you imagine seeing a chough flying over the White Cliffs of Dover for the first time in over 200 years?

The Dover Castle aviary is the first step in the vision to reintroduce choughs to Kent. Dover’s chalk grasslands and white cliffs provide nest sites and rich diversity of insects on which choughs feed.  We want to create a Wilder Kent by restoring this charismatic but threatened bird, with its glossy black plumage, red legs and bright red beak.

Thomas Becket, King Henry, Canterbury and the chough 

Many will know the story of the murder of Thomas Becket, last year marked 850 years since his dramatic murder, but you may be less familiar with a mythical connection to the chough.

It is rumoured that as Thomas lay dying, a crow flew down and by paddling in his blood it acquired a startling red beak and feet, transforming into a chough.

There was a huge public reaction to Thomas’s death. Pilgrims began to arrive at Canterbury Cathedral from across Europe and King Henry II received many high-status visitors. 

Henry invested in Dover Castle, creating the great tower keep as a fitting venue, suitable for important travellers on their way to Canterbury, and making it truly ‘fit for a king’. 

Sometime after his death, Thomas was attributed a coat of arms featuring three choughs, which first appears about 100 years later in Canterbury Cathedral, and, in the 14th century, the City of Canterbury adopted a coat of arms with three choughs and a royal lion. But no one really knows why the chough became associated with Thomas, other than the legend of the blooded crow. Whatever its origin, the chough has a long history in heraldry in glass, sculpture, coats of arms, flags, and even pub signs!

Dover Castle

Kent Wildlife Trust, Wildwood Trust and English Heritage will unveil a brand new chough aviary at Dover Castle this month. Visitors will now be able to get up close to four young red-billed choughs, who will be living at the aviary, and learn more about their cultural and ecological significance in Kent.

The choughs living in the aviary hatched earlier this year at Wildwood Trust, as part of a breeding programme to help reverse falling numbers of the chough population across the UK. A dedicated team of keepers from Wildwood have spent the past three months rearing and training the choughs in preparation for their move to the castle.

 

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.”

 

Irish national chough survey

From Government of Ireland Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage 

The red-billed chough is one of our most charismatic birds but one which is probably most familiar to those living along rugged Irish coastlines. The chough is a scarce bird associated with coastal fringes from Donegal to Wexford. Fewer than 850 breeding pairs along our coastline from Inishowen in Donegal to the Saltees in Wexford – they are very much a bird associated with western Atlantic coastal grasslands.

A member of the crow family, choughs are true invertebrate specialists with a striking and delicate decurved red bill (and matching red legs) designed to probe the top layer of short coastal grasses for insects – liking  leatherjackets, spiders and, where they can get them the insects associated with cow pats. To a young chough a cow pat is like a burger! Choughs are totally harmless to livestock and farming activities and are an amazing character of our coastal skies.

Because of their dependence on short-cropped coastal grasslands such as clifftops, grazed cliffs, dunes and exposed islands, the extensively managed and relatively mild Irish coastline provides good feeding opportunities throughout the year and good nesting opportunities on our cliffs. Agricultural improvement has led to chough declines – a century ago they used to occur all around the Irish coastline, including the ‘soft’ eastern coastline from Wicklow to Antrim – they have been extinct in most coastal counties there for more than 100 years and the last remaining pair in Northern Ireland – on the cliffs of Rathlin Island in Antrim – disappeared in 2017.

We need to periodically take stock of the population, to know how they are faring, and to use this information to inform their continued conservation. Holding nearly 60% of the Northwest European population we have a legal obligation to do so.

From April to July 2021 KRC Ecological and ALC Nature will be running a national survey of these birds on behalf of National Parks & Wildlife Service all around the Irish coastline.

Aside from having the distinctive red legs and red decurved bill, chough have a buoyant, butterfly-like flight and profile (a little different from other crows), shiny black plumage and a distinctive high pitched ‘cheouw’ call.

Dr Sinéad Cummins, the scientist in NPWS Science Biodiversity Section leading the project said “we are very pleased to be undertaking a national assessment of these characterful birds this year. The data gathered is very important to ensure that Ireland can meet its international obligations to protect and enhance the small and precious population of chough around the Atlantic coastline of Ireland.”

In some areas chough nest inland, away from the coast on inland cliffs, in farm buildings, bridges and abandoned houses. The Survey team would be very keen to hear about any observations people may have of these birds, especially relating to birds nesting in areas away from the coast.

Observations of Irish choughs can be reported here , email choughsurvey@gmail.com or call 089 278 5603.

Sing, fly, soar – like a bird!

From World Migratory Bird Day

World Migratory Bird Day: Join the global celebration of birds and nature on 8 May 2021!

“Sing, fly, soar – like a bird!” is the theme of this year’s World Migratory Bird Day, an annual global campaign dedicated to raising awareness of migratory birds and the need for international cooperation to conserve them.

This year the campaign will focus on the phenomena of “bird song” and “bird flight” as a way to inspire and connect people of all ages around the world in their shared desire to celebrate migratory birds and to unite in a common, global effort to protect birds and the habitats they need to survive.

The 2021 World Migratory Bird Day theme is an invitation to people everywhere to connect and re-connect with nature by actively listening to – and watching birds – wherever they are. At the same time the theme appeals to people around the world to use their own voices and creativity to express their shared appreciation of birds and nature.

Birds can be found everywhere: in cities and in the countryside; in parks and backyards, in forests and mountains, and in wetlands and along the shores. They connect all these habitats and they connect us, reminding us of our own connection to the planet, the environment, wildlife and each other. Through their seasonal movements, migratory birds are also regularly reminding us of nature’s cycles.



As global ambassadors of nature, migratory birds not only connect different places across the planet, they also re-connect people to nature and to themselves like no other animals on the planet.

In fact, billions of migratory birds have continued to sing, fly and soar between their breeding and non-breeding sites. During the pandemic, which slowed down many activities by limiting our movements, people across the world have been listening to and watching birds like never before. For many people around the world, bird song has also been a source of comfort and joy during the pandemic, connecting people to each other and to nature as they remain in place.



Scientists around the world have also been studying the impact the pandemic is having on birds and other wildlife, looking at how “the anthropause” – the so-called global shutdown in human activity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic – has effected birds and other wildlife around the world. At the same time, scientists have also been looking at the positive health benefits of birds and nature on humans.

Clearly, the pandemic has been an unprecedented challenge for humankind. At the same time, it has also brought a whole new level of awareness and appreciation of birds and the importance of nature for our own well-being.

World Migratory Bird Day 2021 is therefore not only a celebration of birds, it is also an important moment to reflect on our own global relationship with nature and to highlight our collective desire to do more to protect birds and nature in a post-pandemic world.

World Migratory Bird Day is organized by a collaborative partnership among two UN treaties -the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) -and the non-profit organization, Environment for the Americas (EFTA). The 2021 campaign is also actively being supported by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) Secretariat and a growing number of other dedicated organisations.

Celebrated across the world on two peak days each year – on the second Saturday in May and second Saturday in October – World Migratory Bird Day is the only international awareness-raising and education program that celebrates the migration of bird species along all the major flyways of the world.

To learn more and to register your event please visit World Migratory Bird Day 

April volunteer activity

Sunday 18th April 2021 –– Mourier Valley, St John 10:00-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

****Please note that due to COVID-19, you will need to book a place to attend this task through Eventbright and numbers will be restricted to a total of 20.

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

We are delighted to be back! Join us this Sunday at Mourier Valley for new woodland maintenance with the National Trust for Jersey.

Task It is time to revisit the Mourier Valley New Woodland site after its second year of planting for a morning of tree maintenance and mulching with the National Trust for Jersey. The task will include mulching newly planted trees (to help retain water and supress weeds), weeding tree guards, removing old spirals and guards and some grassland management.

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 There is parking at 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 shovels, buckets, 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 Children are welcome to attend this task as long as they 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. Please don’t forget to bring your own mug!

Endangered puffins and the Seabird Protection Zone 

Press release from Birds On The Edge 

Birds On The Edge is delighted to announce that Jersey’s Atlantic puffins have started to arrive to their breeding cliffs on the Island’s north coast.

This small colony has comprised only four breeding pairs in the last few years, and it is hoped that at least as many will return this year. The puffins have been a bit late to arrive, with only one or two having seen so far over the past few days.

This is the most delicate time for our puffins, as they settle back in their nests and wait for their mates to arrive. Any disturbance or negative experience could put them off and make them abandon the area, sending them off to look for quieter breeding grounds elsewhere. After they have settled, the presence of boats and other watercraft near their breeding sites might disrupt or affect natural behaviours, such as incubation of the egg, fishing, or feeding their chick.

Birds On The Edge asks everyone to follow the guidelines of the Seabird Protection Zone (SPZ) between Plémont and Grève de Lecq, and avoid visiting this area by boat, kayak, paddle board or any other type of watercraft between March and July. These guidelines are already observed by boat and kayak tour operators, who avoid this area at this sensitive time, as well as by the local fishermen, who only visit the area briefly to check their pots.

The presence of watercraft in the Seabird Protection Zone is monitored during regular puffin and seabird surveys. In 2020 a steep increase of leisure craft in the SPZ was noticed in comparison with the previous year. The number of private boats and kayaks recorded per hour increased by 360%. This was believed to be a result of the travel and lockdown restrictions put in place during the pandemic. It was hoped that this year all private boat and kayak users will avoid the area completely until the breeding season is over. However, Birds On The Edge has already received reports of people on kayaks going through the SPZ over the past week.

It is worth remembering that puffins and their relatives, the razorbills, can be found all across the north coast, but as their breeding is restricted to this area, it is extremely important to give them peace and quiet in order for them to return to their nests.

The safest way to enjoy puffins is from the public footpath between Plémont and Grève de Lecq. As the Jersey puffins nest in rock crevices and between boulders below the coastal slopes, they are out of sight when in their nests. However, they spend a lot of time sitting on the water below the cliffs, and the safest way to watch them, for both puffins and people, is from the footpath between Plémont and Grève de Lecq, looking down to the water. The various vantage points, benches and bunkers along the footpath are good spots to watch puffins and other seabirds from.

The public is also invited to join one of the free ‘Puffin Watches’ that will take place at Plémont over the Easter holiday break. For further details please consult the Facebook pages of Jersey Birding Tours and Jersey Wildlife.

Its Jersey’s 20th Great Garden Bird Watch!

The 20th Jersey Great Garden Bird Watch will be held over the weekend of 6th and 7th February

20 years? Yes, the annual Action for Wildlife Jersey and Birds On The Edge garden bird count has reached this significant milestone. Although, it won’t have been undertaken in circumstances quite like these before! Last year, little did we know what was coming. The count has a long tradition of seeming to encourage bad weather so our fear was of the Pest From the West. Did it happen? Does anyone remember February 2020? Well, you warmed up with the RSPB’s UK garden bird watch last weekend so now take part in Jersey’s own watch, one with great significance to our understanding our closest bird neighbours. We really do need as many households to take part as possible. And what else were you planning on doing? 

Song thrushes, who gave us cause for alarm only a few years ago as populations dropped rapidly, show signs that they may be recovering in Jersey. This rather strident singer is getting warmed up around now so, while half their number seem to quietly go about searching for worms on the lawn, the other half sit up in the leafless trees and belt out their (and I’m going to say it) rather monotonous song. Let’s hope that song thrushes feature in this year’s count.

Method for recording

The method of the count is very straight forward. Basically you just need to choose one of the two weekend dates (6th or 7th February), look out into the garden for a few minutes, or as long as you like (I just look out the kitchen window) and write down what birds you see and the maximum number of each species. And, of course, red squirrels count again as birds this year. Just for one weekend!

Once you’ve counted the birds (and squirrels) on your chosen day please fill out the form online here.  Alternatively you can download a form here and email to birdsote@gmail.com or fill out the form in the JEP. This year, we unfortunately won’t be involving the garden centres because of the pandemic restrictions. 

Your observations are of great importance in our understanding of the situation with the birds that we live closest too. Don’t forget, how these birds are fairing in the 21st century says a lot about our own lives and our own environment. You can read about the results of our survey to date in the Jersey Garden Birdwatch Report 2002-2020 here

 

A Christmas card to all our supporters

This Christmas is going to a bit different for everyone. One thing that has not changed though is our gratitude for your support over the year.

Below is an eCard from us to you. To see the festive animation, click on the link and download to view in PowerPoint.

https://www.slideshare.net/ElizabethCorry/birds-on-the-edge-christmas-2020

Alternatively click through the slides below whilst humming a festive tune and let you imagination run wild.

December volunteer activity

Sunday 13th December 2020 –– La Coupe, St Martin 10:00-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

****Please note that due to COVID-19, you will need to book a place to attend this task through Eventbright here and numbers will be restricted to a total of 25.

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

Task Come along for a morning of tree planting with the National Trust for Jersey. As part of the Trust’s ongoing re-wilding efforts we will be planting various species of native trees in a previously neglected corner of La Coupe along the north east coast of the island.

Meeting point will be at La Coupe, St Martin where you park for the beach.

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 La Coupe, St Martin. Jersey phone directory Map 5 (inset) LL8, Google maps here

Parking There is limited space so once this is full we will have some parking available in the field opposite La Coupe House at the top of the hill. Rangers will be on hand to direct.

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 spade, or cutting tools such as shears and loppers then please do bring them along.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather, you will also need to bring gardening gloves and wear decent footwear as the terrain can be quite slippery and muddy.  

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 We will be finishing at 1pm where we will be able to have a socially distanced cuppa and piece of cake.