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.

Birds in the Channel Islands – an update

A little later than most years, well 2020 has had its challenges; we are pleased to update the list of the bird species recorded in the Channel Islands. As in previous years, the list has been updated to include all birds recorded across the islands up to the end of the last year, in this case 2019. So no bearded vultures yet.

Firsts and other notable records

One species, booted warbler, joined the list after sightings in both Guernsey and Alderney in September. This warbler, more at home in eastern Europe and Central Asia, was the 378th species on our list.

There were further firsts for individual islands, a pallid harrier in Guernsey and a desert wheatear in Jersey while Alderney saw its first dusky warbler, barred warbler, thrush nightingale and olive-backed pipit.

Sark saw its second ever mute swan, Jersey a second pallid harrier and Caspian tern and Alderney its second common rosefinch. Jersey’s second and Guernsey’s third glossy ibis may be the sign of things to come as this waterbird increases its range and numbers, following on from all those egrets.

A good year for some

There were some notable arrivals in the islands with common cranes seen in Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney in October although numbers varied suggesting that while the birds may have all been from one migrating flock it didn’t seem that the same individuals were moving between islands.

Another much wanted species, European nightjar, was recorded on all four of our main islands in 2019 with one staying ten days in Sark in spring. The one autumn record was, sadly, of a dead bird picked up in Jersey. Cirl bunting continues to breed in Jersey but this year bred in Guernsey too where birds were present for much of the year: a single was seen in Alderney.

Updates

Away from the birds themselves, the latest report details local birding groups and how to contact them. A pleasing addition this year is the Facebook group Sark Bird Sightings

Competition?

There’s no way birders ever become competitive, but for the record there have been 338 bird species recorded in Jersey, 331 in Guernsey, 303 in Alderney and 227 in Sark. Alderney passed the magic 300 mark with their olive-backed pipit in April.

Download the updated report A Working List of the Birds of the Channel Islands here

November volunteer activity

Sunday 15th November 2020 –– L’Etacquerel Fort, Trinity 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 Eventbright here and numbers will be restricted to a total of 35.

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

Please note this event is one week later than originally advertised

Task The old stone walls of L’Etacquerel Fort provide excellent places for wall lizards to live, they also provide great habitat for ivy! The ivy is now taking over and we need to remove some of it to ensure the lizard habitat is not lost.

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 L’Etacquel Fort, Trinity. Jersey phone directory Map 5 EE7, Google maps here

Parking Parking at the L’Etacquel Fort car park – a 10 minute walk from the site

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 secateurs or cutting implements and gardening gloves, please bring them along.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather and bear in mind the North Coast of Jersey can be pretty bleak! Sturdy boots are recommended.

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. Please bring your own mug to save us using disposables!

 

If you thought biodiversity looked bad in the UK, Europe isn’t looking any better

From BirdLife International

Following the news of the UK’s disappearing biodiversity, a new report from the EU does not give great grounds for hope. Europe’s nature is disappearing under unsustainable farming and expanding towns.

The European Environment Agency’s and the European Commission’s new report on the State of Nature in the EU is released. This is an important document and dataset that will help guide decision- and policy-making in many sectors over the next decade.

The State of Nature report gathers the information reported by Member States under the Birds and Habitats Directives. It showcases analyses and insights based on this information and describes the state of nature in the EU between 2013 and 2018. This includes the EU population status of birds and the conservation status of habitats and non-bird species, and the very serious pressures and threats all face. It also highlights the successes and shortcomings of current measures being undertaken in nature conservation, and the urgent need for restoration to improve specific species and habitats. The report also looks at the contribution of the Natura 2000 network to protecting and conserving habitats and species, and evaluates the EU’s progress towards Target 1 and Target 3 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

State of Nature in the EU – overall highlights

Overall the statistics in the State of Nature report tell a sorry tale. It shows that with regard to birds, four in ten bird species in Europe have a poor or bad status, with almost a third of all bird species experiencing continuous declines over the last 12 years.

At the top of the list of the pressures and threats responsible for this sad state of biodiversity in the EU are unsustainable agriculture and forestry practices, urbanisation and pollution. Each of these threaten species and habitats, and when combined can cause even greater damage. Looking at birds in particular, unsustainable agriculture tops the bill, closely followed by urbanisation and then unsustainable forestry practices.  Many EU protected species and habitats, such as the saker falcon, the Danube salmon, grasslands and dunes, face an uncertain future unless more is urgently done to reverse the situation.

On top of this, environmental laws and policies such as the EU Nature Directives, are often not well implemented in certain Member States. The fact that eight in ten habitats and over six in ten non-bird species which are protected under Annex I of the Habitats Directive as well as four out of ten bird species in the EU have a poor or bad EU status means that not enough is being done to ensure their protection and conservation and it is high time for everyone to up their nature conservation game if we are to survive.

Reasons to worry – genuine and non-genuine changes, top pressures and threats causing declines in birds

Regarding birds, initially the situation could be seen as more positive than for other species groups or for habitats, but these groups are not comparable as only species and habitats protected on Annex 1 of the Habitats Directive were assessed compared to all birds species.  Around half of the bird species in the EU having a good EU status, however, this proportion is actually slightly smaller than that from the last reporting period (State of Nature in the EU 2007-2012). Reflecting this, the proportion of bird species in poor and bad status has slightly increased in the last six years, now reaching 40%; and although some of this change is due in part to a mix of changes in data quality and survey and analysis methods, genuine species deterioration is also a key factor.

Examples from case studies

Not all the news is bad however. Conservation efforts all over the world have shown that species can bounce back from the brink and conservation in the EU is no exception. Thanks to huge policy and on-the-ground conservation effort including LIFE projects, the elaboration of international Species Action Plans, international Memoranda of Understanding on specific species under the Bonn Convention for Migratory Species, and protection under the Natura 2000 Network, species like the aquatic warbler that almost entirely disappeared from the EU as fens and mires were drained, ploughed over and lost to agriculture, have seen population improvement since 2011. The red kite has made a spectacular comeback after suffering huge declines in the past due to persecution, pesticides and changes in agricultural practices. Although still small, thanks to supplementary feeding and specific captive breeding and reintroduction schemes, the population of bearded vultures is also on the increase in the EU.

These examples show however that a huge amount of resources need to be invested to improve these species’ plight. Nature restoration will always be more demanding and expensive than maintaining nature in a good state, and it is therefore doubly important, not just on an ecological level but  economically, to make the most of the healthy patches of nature we have left and make sure we do not lose or degrade them further.

Nevertheless, we are overall losing species on a large scale and fast. Birds of prey for example, such as harriers and falcons, are seeing their numbers decline, with half of the harrier species present in the EU and six out of ten falcon species having decreasing population trends.

Seabirds are also suffering from an increasing number of pressures and threats. Although some seabirds have improved in status, most are not only pressured by invasive species and bycatch, but also by disturbance from recreational activities and marine harvesting of fish and shellfish, the latter which also impacts them by decreasing the overall availability of food, and all of which have led to many seabirds species having a poor or bad EU status.  

This is why we need to take immediate action to tackle the most widespread and concerning threats to biodiversity. On top of these widespread threats, more species-specific or upcoming threats like those specific to marine species, or those related to climate change can quickly tip the scales and add to the myriad of other widespread threats already present. Governments need to take action immediately and efficiently if we do not want to see the trends we are seeing now precipitate our European species and ecosystems to the point of no return.

The State of Nature in EU and the EU biodiversity Strategies

It is clear from the new State of Nature report that the aims of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 have not been achieved, with only the non-bird species group almost meeting the set target whilst the habitats and birds targets are still well behind.

The new EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Farm to Fork Strategy, both of which are core elements of the European Green Deal set new ambitious targets for the coming decades and bring hope in the form of new goals and targets. The biodiversity strategy in particular, with its new aims to strengthen and enlarge the existing network of protected areas, and restore and maintain healthy ecosystems, will help ensure that bird and non-bird species alike will continue to have a sustainable home in the EU.

Download the complete report State of nature in the EU: Results from reporting under the nature directives 2013-2018 here

 

Join The Global Bird Weekend 17 & 18 October 2020

From Global Birding

Global Birding would like to have as many people as possible join in the Global Bird Weekend 17 and 18 October.

Covid-19 Lockdown meant many people became more aware of their local natural surroundings.  They want everyone to celebrate the love for nature and birds across the world in their own local areas or “patch”.

Part of the weekend event will include eBird’s October Big Day when it is aimed to create a world record for the largest number of birds seen by the greatest number of people on this peak migration weekend.

It is hoped that at least 25,000 participants will go out birdwatching on Saturday 17 October 2020 and report what they see using eBird. The goal is to record more than 6,000 bird species!

How do I take part?

Global Birding are working in association with eBird, which is a project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA. 

  1. Get an eBird account – this is free to all users
  2. On Saturday 17 October 2020, go out birdwatching and enjoy what you see – with family, friends, groups or just take time out on your own (register here).
  3. Enter what you see and/or here on eBird
  4. Watch the sightings roll in on eBird’s Global Bird Weekend October Big Day page
  5. Keep posting your photos and videos during the day on our social media pages #globalbirdweekend #globalbirding
  6. On Sunday 18 October 2020, add your own photos, videos, field sketches and messages to share your experiences with the global audience. Keep up to date on Global Birding’s social media pages over the weekend and beyond #globalbirdweekend #globalbirding,

This year, Global Birding is supporting BirdLife International’s vital conservation project to stop the illegal trade in birds. Did you know there are now more birds in cages in Java than in the country’s natural habitat?

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.

 

 

The Inter-Island Environment Meeting 2020 is this week

The Inter-Island Environment Meeting 2020 (IIEM) will be held this week

Due to travel restrictions to Guernsey, this year’s IIEM will be held via Zoom.

It is a special year as 2020 marks; the 20th Anniversary of the IIEMs, the end of the UN’s Decade of Biodiversity and the beginning of the UN’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. We do hope you can join us to help celebrate these landmarks.

The meeting will be held over two days: Thursday 17th 09:40-14:30 and Friday 18th September from 10:00-14:30.

There will be series of short talks in the morning and a workshop in the afternoon.

For full details, timetables, and to register for the event, please visit the Eventbrite links below:  

https://iiem2020day1.eventbrite.co.uk

https://iiem2020day2.eventbrite.co.uk

In order to attend the meeting you are required to register to both days using the above links. Please note – you are still required to register through Eventbrite even if you have already emailed to request a place at the IIEM.

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 

Familiar faces at the coastal places

By Cristina Sellarés 

If you head to the north-west of the Island today, and you stop by Grève de Lecq, you might want to pop in to Colleens Cafe, where a familiar face is waiting to greet you. Not a human face mind you, but that of one of our local puffins in fact.

The puffin in question is one of Jersey’s breeding birds, a population of only four pairs, and its photo, featured in a new information board, was taken by a local photographer just around the corner from the cafe. The board, produced by Birds On The Edge as a part of our seabird conservation  campaign, is really the brainchild of puffin enthusiast and owner of Colleens Cafe, Emma Machon. When we heard that Emma was thinking of having a board about puffins at the cafe, we approached her to offer our input, which she graciously accepted (to our delight!).

The board provides global and local insights about puffins and other seabirds breeding in the area, with information on their ecology, populations and present threats, as well as measures to stop their declines (you can look at the sign here). We have used photos taken locally in most cases, so you’re looking at our actual birds from Jersey, and in the settings and behaviours we are most likely to observe: flying, standing on the rocks or bobbing on the water. In Jersey we are not likely to see puffins perched on the rocks or walking about on the slopes and burrows, like we might in the large colonies of the north. The slopes in Jersey are too accessible to potential predators, such as rats and ferrets, so our puffins only breed in rock crevices on the cliffs, below the slopes.

On the board you will also find a small map of the Seabird Protection Zone, which is the area to avoid between March and July in order to keep puffins and other endangered birds safe from disturbance; and the Seabird Trail (coming soon!), which is the route to follow in order to observe the puffins in a safe and unobtrusive way.

Map showing Seabird Protection Zone (red) and Seabird Trail (green line)

At the other end of the trail you will find another copy of the board, just outside Plémont Cafe. As it happened, only a few weeks ago we were approached by the cafe’s owner Paul McDermott , who was wondering if we had any nice puffin pictures or posters that he could put up, and as you can guess, now there are two boards, one at either end of the forthcoming Seabird Trail.

So here’s a little plan for you: pick a sunny day, grab your binoculars and head to Plémont. Have a nice breakfast at the cafe, whilst admiring the beach from the bar. Take a quick look at the seabird board (it’s behind you…!). Once you’ve brushed up on identifying puffins and other birds, find your way up to the top car park and start on the Seabird Trail, following the public footpath to Grève. Keep your eyes on the sea below for puffins, razorbills, gulls and fulmars, and see how many you can identify of each. Once you arrive at Grève de Lecq, you deserve a good lunch, so treat yourself at Colleens, where you can check on their seabird board how many birds you got right.  After enjoying the food and the views, and maybe even the beach too, make your way back to Plémont, noticing the other side of the cliffs and the changing views, and don’t forget to keep scanning the water with your binoculars, as seals or dolphins are a common sight in this area too.

Now that you’ve made it back to Plémont, having learnt about our seabirds and tested your skills, you deserve an ice cream, slice of cake or a cool drink.  What better way to celebrate some time well spent with our beautiful seabirds.

Thanks go to: Emma from Colleens Café for her initial idea, and for allowing the Birds On The Edge takeover of the seabird board; Paul from Plémont Cafe for jumping on the board bandwagon; graphic artists at Durrell (Will and Rich) for their inspired design; and the photographers Romano da Costa and Mick Dryden for letting us use their beautiful photos.

Have a sneaky look at the full sign here