Friday, 6 May 2016
Gannets on Alderney
Last week, I was co-leading a Bird Watching Magazine/Avian Adventures readers' holiday to Alderney and Normandy, with Martin Batt, whose work with the Living Islands project on Alderney has done an awful lot to put it on the birding map.
It's a great place to try your first birdwatching outside the UK mainland, because it's small and manageable (you could easily do it all on foot or by bike if you wanted to), but also gets a good variety of birds.
These can include overshooting migrants that would otherwise only be seen on the French mainland, and large numbers of other migrants on their way north to Britain (and beyond).
And then there's the seabirds. Puffins breed on Burhou, just offshore, as do Storm-petrels, and there are good colonies of Razorbills, Guillemots and Shags. But best of all, at Les Etacs, you can view one of the most accessible Gannet colonies in the British Isles.
Thousands of these glorious birds – we have a large proportion of the world's population of them – crowd onto the rocky cliffs, and there's a constant coming and going as they fish the surrounding seas, although they range as far afield as Cornwall and the Thames Estuary.
I'll be posting more from Alderney and northern France over the next few weeks, but you can also read more about the island's Gannets, and those around the coast of Britain, in my book A Sky Full Of Birds, available now.