Out and About - Channel Islands
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy.
The permanently inhabited islands of the Channel Islands are Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou and Brecqhou (Brechou).
The islands are steeped in history with conflict between the English and the French in the 14th Century and the Nazis in the Second World War. The islands are full of buildings and defenses from these conflicts which are all part of the tourist trail in these fascinating islands.
Wildlife here is diverse with many birds using the islands as a stop off while on migration. Red Squirrels have a foot hold here and many Amphibians as well as plants such as Orchids do very well here.
Here are some useful websites:
- Wildlife of the Channel Islands
- Wildlife on Alderney
- Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust - Channel Islands
- Jersey Birds
- Birds and Birding in Guernsey
- Visit the Channel Islands
- Channel Islands Occupation Society - Guernsey Museums
Jersey is not like the other islands I have visited and was quite busy; all areas of the island were accessible by car or within a short walking distance.Watching waders at high tide, the best place was along the East Coast, especially around La Rocque Point; here you can sit in the comfort of your car and watch with a pair of binoculars. On my visit witnessed several hundred birds here.
Sea Watching for Shearwaters, Skuas and Petrels is best from the four corners of the island. Local birders have told me the birds like to circle the island when the conditions are right and the best one is the car park at Le Coupe point.
St Catherine's Wood which is the biggest wood on the island was also on the East side of the island were there was all the birds you would see in a wood on the mainland but also several Firecrest was seen in the canopy as well as Red Squirrels!!
On the East side there was a few Bird Hides with a modern one at the Wetland Centre St Queens Pond, plenty of Marsh Harriers here, I was told there is 50+ on the island, I saw 8 in one day, the most I've ever seen.
Another gem is the Sandpits which is just south of the Wetland Centre, you walk through a door in a sand dune and the other side is a working sand quarry, in the middle is a huge pond/lake with large numbers of Coot and Ducks, on the opposite side is a Sand Martin nesting site.
Noirmont Point, which according to the locals is a favored point for migrating birds as it's the most southern point in the Island. For all you military types it's also got plenty of WW2 German bunkers for you to look around.
© Simon Thurgood 2017
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