Can we bring back a missing predator?

Paul Stammers will present Returning a top predator: the reintroduction of ospreys in England at Durrell’s Academy Lecture Theatre at 19.30 on Friday 8th March. Free entry and everyone welcome.

We are increasingly familiar with rewilding environments: trying to bring back missing elements such as those important species that helped shape the landscape and the way that others including ourselves have lived. Think of beavers, marmots, bison and deer – all species returned successfully to parts of Europe. But, they are herbivores, how easy is it to bring back a predator? Well, agencies in the UK have become very good at bringing back predatory birds like the white-tailed eagle and the red kite. Less well known perhaps is the story with the osprey – a bird that famously came back naturally to Scotland in 1954 after a long absence and some serious effort to stop it leaving again. More recently this iconic bird has been directly restored in England, at Rutland Water, and work is underway in Poole Harbour which will see ospreys nesting once again in southern England.

Paul Stammers was born in Norfolk, the son of a gamekeeper. After leaving college, Paul joined Rolls Royce in Derby to serve an Engineer Apprenticeship and gained a degree in mechanical engineering. He went on to work on the design and testing of the RB211 engine at Derby and Hucknall.

In 1972 Paul was approached by Mars Ltd to join their design team at Melton Mowbray where he went to work in design, project engineering, production management, local external relations and finally environmental management. He then took the decision to retire at 50-years old to follow his interests in conservation.

In 1996 Paul started as a volunteer on The Rutland Osprey Project, assisting with translocation of osprey chicks from Scotland to Rutland Water. In 2007 he became a member of staff working with Dr Tim Mackrill, Project Officer Rutland Ospreys for the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and Anglian Water.

During the last 12 years Paul has helped in the day-to-day running of the project and establishing a breeding colony of nine pairs of ospreys and in excess of 20 adult birds returning each year to the local area. Between 2011 and 2019 Paul regularly visited both Gambia and Senegal tracking ospreys and visiting schools that are supported by the project and LRWT.

At the end of the 2018 season Paul decided to step down from his staff position but continue to work as a volunteer with the project. In September 2018 he was appointed Trustee of the Osprey Leadership Foundation. The aim of the Foundation is to give young people the opportunity to study and work in conservation in both the UK and West Africa.

On Friday, Paul will talk about the translocation of ospreys to Rutland, the establishment of a colony and then on to Africa and the work with schools in The Gambia. Finally he will give a summary of the aims of the Osprey Leadership Foundation.

During his visit, Paul will have a look at Jersey with ospreys in mind. He will come to us from Guernsey where he will have been hosted by BOTE friend, and conservation stalwart, Vic Froome. Vic will come across with Paul, not least as he likes to see some choughs from time to time!

Durrell’s Academy is at the Les Noyers Hostel site across the green car park from the Zoo entrance (map here) . Please park on the grass or walk over from the main car park (you may need to bring a torch).

February volunteer activity

Sunday 10th February 2019 – Le Mont, Rue des Mans, St Brelade – 10:30-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

The details Please note that due to ongoing industrial action, this month’s task will be managed by Robin and the team from Jersey Trees for Life

Task As part of the Jersey Trees for Life ongoing hedgerow campaign, native trees and hedging whips will be planted around fields in St Brelade. The purpose of this planting is to continue linking and enlarging the areas previously planted. The campaign project itself is to enable the establishment of wildlife corridors across the Island primarily for the benefit of squirrels, bats, hedgehogs and our native bird species, as well as the re-instigating of former hedgerows lost due to farming and natural causes. Jersey Trees for Life view this particular area of their work as fundamental in their core aims.

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 The property is called Le Mont, Rue des Mans, St Brelade. One of the Trees for Life Team will be on hand at the entrance to guide you to the parking place.  Jersey phone directory: Map 13, square M17. Google maps here

Parking Parking will be tight, so if you can share a lift it would be ideal. There may be parking spaces at the site or along the road.

Meet at 10.20 promptly for a 10.30 start. We will be finished work by 12.30 for well-earned refreshments.

Tools needed Please bring a spade if you have one, (please note that trowels, shovels and forks will not be suitable for this task!) Jersey Trees for Life can provide a limited number of spades and other tools.

Clothing needed Please check the weather for the day and bring suitable clothing, wet weather gear and wellies may be necessary but fingers crossed for some February sun! We can supply a pair of gardening gloves if you don’t have them, but you may have a favourite pair you’d like to bring.

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

Refreshments After all the trees have been planted, Kim will reward you with a hot drink and a slice of homemade cake.

 

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The 18th annual Jersey Great Garden Bird Watch 2-3 February 2019

As another year rolls around its time for this year’s annual Jersey Great Garden Bird Watch with Action for Wildlife and the Jersey Evening Post. This year it will be held over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd February. Of course, notification of the coming watch typically leads to a serious change in the weather. Not that it’s been all that nice in Jersey recently anyway but you probably should expect horizontal bird feeders in non-stop hail now at the start of February!

Cold and unfavourable weather is when the birds in your garden become most reliant on your support and so, with them coming to feeders it’s a very good time to count them. I’m often asked whether we should feed the birds, are we making them too dependent on us? Are we affecting their natural behaviour? Well, having done a good job of impacting on their world and starving them out of a lot of it, perhaps we may have to accept becoming a lifeline to many species in an uncertain future. Some of our garden favourites may not die out without us but their ranges may change dramatically and we might have to work hard to see some of them. Add to that a changing climate and those acts of kindness to our garden friends can become a lifeline.

The Great Garden Bird Watch is in its 18th year so we have plenty of counts to use in assessing the recent trends in Jersey’s garden birds. And things aren’t so good really. If we just look at the most recorded species (house sparrow, greenfinch and chaffinch, blue tit and great tit, blackcap, blackbird, song thrush and robin, starling, wood pigeon and collared dove and a few others like pheasant, magpie, jay and great spotted woodpeckers) we see a slow decline throughout the period since 2002. However, if we take out that great garden success story, the wood pigeon, we see a much more dramatic picture. Most people know about the changes in starling numbers, and the disappearance of sparrows from many gardens (strangely, if you’ve got sparrows you probably have lots of them and they have staged a recovery) but blue and great tits aren’t doing so well either. It’s not all bad news though, blackbirds and robins are holding their own. The picture in the UK is much the same where 40 years of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch shows the winners and losers there.

The method of the count is very straight forward. Basically you just need to look out into the garden for a few minutes and write down what birds you see and the maximum number of each species. Oh, and for one weekend a year, red squirrels are birds. I’m not sure what they think about that, maybe they accept that it’s an honour!

 

 

Once you’ve counted the birds on your chosen day please fill out the form that you can download here and email in to birdsote@gmail.com or print and send in to the JEP or drop off at their office. Alternatively pick up a form from one of the Island’s garden centres (Ransoms, St Peters, Pet Cabin at Le Quesnes) or Animal Kingdom and leave it with them.

Everyone who takes part in the count is a citizen scientist and doing their own small bit to help us understand our garden birds that bit better. Most of all though, it’s fun and will remind you how important our birds are to us and how much we need them to help us feel alive and well. And they’ll take your mind off Brexit. So, please fill out your form on one day over the weekend and help us see how our birds are doing. Oh, and don’t forget, squirrels are birds!

 

 

January volunteer activity

Sunday 13th January 2019 – La Coupe, St Martin – 10:30-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

Happy New Year!

The details

This task replaces the originally scheduled “Willow Coppicing at Le Rȃt” as an opportunity has arisen to plant a small woodland in a former agricultural field in at the Island’s most north-easterly corner and we thought The JCV would be the perfect team for the job! The trees have been delivered to The Elms and are ready to go!

Task Join the National Trust’s Lands Team at la Coupe (near Fliquet, St Martin) to carry out the exciting task of planting a small new coastal woodland. The task will involve planting native trees with guards and stakes, and giving them a good covering of mulch to protect and feed them.

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

The site We will meet at the field, known as “Windy Corner”, at the bottom of La Rue de la Coupe, the lane down to La Coupe beach. Jersey phone directory Map 5 inset, square 8LL and Google maps here

Parking Parking will be tight, so if you can share a lift it would be ideal. There will be space at the car park at the bottom, on the hill, and on the main road at the top.

Meet at 10.20 promptly for a 10.30 start. We will finish work by 12.30 for well-earned refreshments.

Tools needed All tools will be provided but feel free to bring your own digging and staking tools with you if wish (e.g. spades, lump hammers).

Clothing needed Please check the weather for the day and bring suitable clothing, possibly some back up wet weather gear… it is January after all! We can supply a pair of gardening gloves if you don’t have them.

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

Refreshments After we have finished tree planting, we will of course then enjoy some glorious cake and a well-earned hot drink provided by Kim.

The National Trust for Jersey Lands Team look forward to seeing you for the first task of 2019.

November volunteer activity

Jersey conservation volunteers get stuck in to the reeds. Photo courtesy of Jersey Conservation Volunteers

Sunday 4th November 2018 – Grouville Marsh (Les Maltieres), Grouville – 10:30-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

Please note that November’s task is a week earlier than normal to avoid clashing with Remembrance Sunday.

The details Join the National Trust for Jersey’s rangers at Grouville Marsh (Les Maltieres) for a morning of reedbed management and an opportunity to take a close look at the Trust’s recent wetland restoration project.

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

The site Meet at Long Beach carpark on Gorey coast road.

Jersey Phone Book map 11, square KK16. Google maps here. It’s a short walk over the road and through the back of the reedbed.

Parking There is parking at Long Beach carpark.

The task This task will involve cutting, clearing and burning reeds as well as some willow coppicing. Each year the Trust endeavours to cut and clear a section of the reedbed. This encourages greater floral diversity and creates a differing age structure within the reedbed. Removing or burning the cut reeds helps prevent the build-up of dead plant matter which can lead to the reedbed drying out. We will also be cutting some willow in order to prevent scrub encroachment.

Meet at 10.20 promptly for a 10.30 start. We will be finished work by 12.30 for well-earned refreshments.

Tools needed All tools will be provided.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather, we go ahead whatever Nature throws at us. We can supply a pair of gardening gloves if you don’t have them.

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

Refreshments The famous Kim’s Kafe will open to provide refreshments when work finishes at about 12.30.

Fifth International Red-billed Chough Meeting. Segovia, Spain, 10-11 October, 2019

At the Fourth International Workshop on the Conservation of the Red-billed Chough held in October 2013 in Vila Real (Portugal), it was unanimously expressed that the next workshop should take place in Segovia, Spain. Segovia is not only beautiful but it is also full of choughs amongst the famous buildings. What better place?

Foro GeoBiosfera in collaboration with the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Madrid (CSIC) and with the support of the City Council of Segovia, announces the holding of this next Workshop, inviting all interested parts to participate.

This is the first call of the Workshop. In the near future there will be complete information on aspects of the event including the precise location of the meeting, communications by road, bus, train and plane, places of accommodation, registration fees and scope of services offered. The organisers will also answer questions that the participants may generate.

This Workshop is open to all interested people, professionals and those from public and private institutions alike who are keen on choughs, both red-billed and Alpine (yellow-billed) choughs.

Communications from any part of the world are welcome covering different aspects related to choughs, including:

  • Research and monitoring
  • Conservation
  • Cultural: literature, history, music and exhibitions of painting, photography, crafts.
  • Education and dissemination
  • Protection and legislation.

By Björn S... - Alpine chough - Pyrrhocorax graculus, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40039369

The organisers have developed two committees to oversee the event structure:  an organizing committee from Foro GeoBiosfera and a scientific committee composed of researchers.

Please contact the Organization of the Congress for all information at comunicación@forogeobiosfera.org

We hope that this event will be an outstanding success in the scientific and conservation worlds of these unique bird species.

More details of the Workshop can be found here

October volunteer activity

Sunday 14th October 2018 – Devon Gardens, St Martin – 10:30-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

The details Devon Gardens is a public garden in Gorey that is home to several important Jersey species. The walls provide great habitat for wall lizards and wild strawberry but are becoming overgrown with vegetation, threatening the habitat so we will be working to remove areas of dense ivy.

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

The site  We will meet at the bottom of the gardens. Jersey Phone Book map Map 11, LL15 Google maps here

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.

The task Improving habitat for wall lizards and wild strawberry.

Meet at 10.20 promptly for a 10.30 start. We will be finished work by 12.30 for well-earned refreshments.

Tools needed Tools will be provided but if you have a pair of secateurs bring them as they will be useful.

Clothing needed Please dress for the weather, we go ahead whatever Nature throws at us. We can supply a pair of gardening gloves if you don’t have them.

Children All are welcome, young or old 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 cafe to treat you all when work finishes at about 12.30.

 

September volunteer activity

Sunday 9th September 2018 – Victoria Tower, St Martin – 10:30-13.00

From Jersey Conservation Volunteers

Well hasn’t it been an amazing summer? However, the signs of autumn are becoming apparent, sloes, blackberries and of course the Jersey Conservation Volunteers!

The details The first task of the season will focus primarily on sycamore control. Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus is a deciduous broadleaf tree native to central, eastern and southern Europe. It was introduced to the British Isles and is now a naturalised species.

While sycamore trees do have a value to wildlife, they are so successful that they have a tendency to take over. The purpose of this task is to control the abundance of sycamore at the site by cutting back and, where possible, uprooting young self-seeded saplings.

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

The site  We will meet in the car park at the end of Le Mont Mallet Jersey Phone Book map Map 11 MM15 – Google maps here

Parking Parking at the site is very limited but further on road parking is available along La Rue de La Pouclee et des Quatre Chemins. Please also consider car sharing or cycling.

The task We will be managing the sycamore woodland by cutting back older trees and uprooting saplings.

Meet at 10.20 promptly for a 10.30 start. We will be finished work by 12.30 for well-earned refreshments.

Tools needed Tools will be provided but if you have a pair of gardening gloves, a spade and cutting tools (e.g. pruning saw, loppers, secateurs) it would be helpful if you could bring them along with you.

Clothing needed Good thick gloves (though we can supply a pair if you don’t have them), wellies or sturdy boots, (it shouldn’t be muddy but the vegetation may well be wet it and it may be rough underfoot) and common sense clothes to cope with the elements, we go ahead whatever the weather!

Children All are welcome, young or old. Children under 16 must be supervised by a parent or guardian during the task.

Refreshments Kim the Kake has spent all summer baking for us (well perhaps not) but she will thankfully be on hand at the end of the task to dish out hot drinks and her scrumptious homemade cakes.

 

Choughs claim top prize for conservation

By Liz Corry

It’s coming home. It’s coming home. It’s coming, the Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards 2018 are coming home“.

Insurance Corporation logoOK so not as catchy, but the sentiment is the same. Our work with the choughs (see earlier blog entry here) claimed top prize at this year’s Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards. And yes, we are well chuffed.

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Michelle Arundale, Chairperson of the Judging Panel and organiser of the event, said that this was the first time they had to draw up a shortlist of entries in the awards’ 28 year history. Michelle said, “we had such a fabulous response this year and we were delighted to see such a variety of projects entering.” and that judging provided “a chance to meet the inspirational people behind the projects doing their utmost to enhance our natural environment in so many different ways.”

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Michelle Arundale, Chairperson of the Judging panel and organiser of the event. Photo courtesy of Insurance Corporation

Ronez logoYou can watch an edited version of ITV News interview here. It looks at how the choughs and Ronez Quarry have been working together to improve Jersey’s biodiversity.

Angela Salmon, one of the judges this year, noted “The projects have involved many members of our community and these projects will be enjoyed by adults and children. The people leading the winning projects showed great knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm for nature conservation and they are also keen to share their knowledge by educating others.”

We will use the prize money to enable school groups visiting the quarry to learn about Jersey’s wildlife and develop field skills in bird identification. The remaining money will be used to pay for the DNA sexing of this year’s wild chicks.

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Awards ceremony held at the Pomme D’or Hotel. Photo courtesy of Insurance Corporation

There was a shared sentiment amongst the nominees that whilst we have submitted individual projects we are all working towards the same goal. And that all the projects are inter-linked in some respect. For example, Littlefeet’s beach cleans are important to the wildlife species Durrell are trying to save. Birding Tours Jersey need birds otherwise the tours would be really boring! Removing plastic waste from the beach helps Jersey’s seabird population stay afloat (literally!).

Birding Tours Jersey, was this year’s runner-up receiving £1000 towards the free birding tours given to islanders. This year they have hosted three puffin watch tours and several dawn chorus walks to highlight the wonders of Jersey wildlife. And to add to the connection to nature that our projects share, Neil was one of the first chough volunteers before leaving to start Birding Tours.

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Neil Singleton and partner Alison Caldeira receiving the runner-up prize. Photo courtesy of Insurance Corporation

Another nice link was seen with the Conservationist of the Year Award and the Peter Walpole People’s Choice Award. Both of which were awarded to Sarah Maguire for her BioBlitz project in schools. BioBlitz is run through the Jersey Biodiversity Records Centre. Sarah also works for Durrell in our Education team at the Zoo.

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Sarah Maguire (middle) won two awards for her BioBlitz project. Photo courtesy of Insurance Corporation

It is cliché to say it, but everyone is a winner in the conservation awards. Unlike a certain World Cup.

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Winners and nominees of the Insurance Corporation Conservation Awards 2018. Photo courtesy of Insurance Corporation

2018 Inter-Island Environment Meeting

Crabbe. 9 October 2015. Photo by HGYoung (2)This year’s Inter-Island Environment Meeting (IIEM) will be held once again in Jersey, at Crabbé, St Mary on Thursday 20th and Friday 21st September.

The hosts will be National Trust Jersey and the States of Jersey Department for the Environment and the event will once again be generously supported by Insurance Corporation.

Crabbé Activity CentreCrabbe Activity Centre is a newly renovated outdoor centre belonging to Jersey’s Youth Service and ideally located on the Island’s north coast. The centre has basic accommodation for those who are visiting, giving us a friendly holiday camp feel, ideally suited to this year’s theme, with all conveniences situated on site including a wood-fired pizza oven. For those who would rather not sleep in a bunk-bed or tent, there will be hotel rooms  available nearby.

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2018 theme

This year’s theme is ‘Environmental Partnership’ – inspired by groups/organisations working towards a common goal. Current or future.

Aim and objectives

The general aim of the IIEM is to enable Government bodies, NGO’s, environmental managers and individuals to discuss the status of the islands’ environments.

The 2018 IIEM has three objectives for delegates to:-

–              Present a range of environmental topics relevant to their organisation and island, demonstrating collaboration and partnerships working, and the pros and cons and best practice therein.

–              Discuss current or future projects which could effectively be undertaken throughout the Channel Islands and other regions, such as the Isle of Man and UK.

–              Discuss the potential for a Channel Island Environmental Charter.

Common toad. Photo by Kristian Bell

Intended audience

The IIEM is aimed at ecological, conservation, environmental management bodies (government/NGO) and individuals from the Channel Islands and other regions, such as the Isle of Man and UK.

IIEM talk/poster presentation requirements

Delegates from the Channel Islands and beyond are encouraged to present on research related to the IIEM objectives on either terrestrial, ornithological or marine topics, either via talk or poster formats. Please contact Jon Parkes (JonParkes@nationaltrust.je) or Nina Cornish (N.Cornish@gov.je) to discuss and submit your presentation ideas.

Talks

Talks will normally last for 15 minutes, with 5 minutes for questions. Presenters are requested to submit a title and abstract (maximum of 300 words) to Jon Parkes by Friday 13th July.

Poster

Poster presentations will be displayed. Posters should be formatted to A1 size, either landscape/portrait. Presenters are requested to submit a title and abstract (maximum of 100 words) to Jon Parkes by Friday 13th July. Boards and attachment material will be provided.

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Field Trips

There is a Birds On The Edge guided walk on Thursday (20th September) at 13.30 to nearby Mourier Valley to talk about sheep grazing, choughs, habitat management and bird crops.

The Friday (21st) afternoon session will consist of three field trips of which delegates will be asked to choose an option and indicate their choice on the registration form. The options will be:

  1. Grève de Lecq to Plémont by Kayak: Sea Bird Conservation – Identified areas for protection and monitoring. Led by Piers Sangan and Kazz from Wild Adventures. Note: numbers are restricted for this field trip and places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis
  2. The Wetland Centre Tour: A chance to visit the National Trust for Jersey’s bird observatory and interpretation centre. Led by the Trust Rangers.
  3. Plémont Restoration Site – The story so far: See the former holiday camp site and the work the Trust and its partners have done to return the site to nature. Led by The Trust’s Land Manager and Conservation Officer.

Registration

You can use the registration form here and email the completed form to Jon Parkes at JonParkes@nationaltrust.je by Friday 29th June.

Travel

Air travel

Flybe, British Airways, easyJet and others fly from the UK

Aurigny Air Services fly to Alderney from Guernsey and from Jersey via Guernsey.

Boat travel

Condor Ferries travel from the UK and France to Jersey and between Guernsey and Jersey

Accommodation

If you don’t wish to stay at Crabbé there are accommodation options nearby including:

Prince of Wales in Grève de Lecq

Grève de Lecq barracks

Durrell Hostel and Camping

For further information on accommodation please see Visit Jersey’s website for more information

Crabbe. 9 October 2015. Photo by HGYoung (14)