The last week has been glorious! The perfect kind of sunny bright and cold days that make you forget what it’s like to be wet and miserable. That make it impossible to go outside without a huge grin on your face from the sheer loveliness of it all. A few snaps from getting out and about this week:
A glorious bike ride to see the (currently empty) gannetries
Mannez pond and lighthouse
Looking towards Bibette Head from Saye
Sunset over Essex Hill
One of my big projects at the moment is the refurbishment of the bird hide at Longis pond. The Longis Nature Reserve was the first reserve to be established after the Alderney Wildlife Trust formed in 2002. The hide pre-dates the Trust and was built in 2001 by the Alderney Conservation Volunteers so has done pretty well for nearly 16 years of service!
Taking the hide apart
The last wall
The base of the hide, all stripped down
The new hide is planned to be much bigger with improved access for wheelchair users. With the formation of the Alderney Bird Observatory last year, Alderney has become a new and exciting destination for birders and bird ringers and hopefully these improvements will give visitors a more comfortable experience.
With any luck, the hide will be ready and open by 1st March but there’s a lot of work to do before then!
I’ve also been making the most of the wild food opportunities here. Coastal locations are great for all kinds of edibles and it’s hard to walk out the door without stumbling on something good to eat. I’ve been using garlic chive (three-corner leek, Allium triquetrum), sorrel (Rumex acetosa) and wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) regularly and have been sampling some seaweeds recently as well as trying limpets and cooking outdoors over an open fire. Hopefully much more of these kind of adventures to come!
Garlic chives run rampant over most parts of the island!
Irish moss seaweed – excellent vegetarian substitute for geletine
Bladder wrack (Fucus vesiculosus)
Oarweed (Laminaria digitata) drying
Laver (Porphyra umbilicalis) – also known as nori!
Some cooking adventures:
Chicken roasted with garlic chive and sea beet veg
Limpets cooked Japanese style with dulse and garlic chive
Vegetable curry and quick breads cooked over a fire in the garden using my new dutch oven
So, I think that’ll do for now… I do think once a week might turn out not to be often enough but we’ll see how it goes. Till next time then!
And yet again, I’ve failed to keep this blog going. Let’s see if 2017 will be my year…
So, I finished my MSc at Leeds and am now working for the Alderney Wildlife Trust as Conservation Officer on a full time voluntary placement. I’ve been here since the end of September and am nearly 4 months into my 12 month placement.
Alderney is the third largest Channel Island and the closest in proximity to both France and the UK. At only 3 miles long by 1 1/2 miles wide it’s not big but manages to squeeze a surprising amount in. It has a fascinating array of wildlife featuring species that are present in the UK and continental Europe as well as some endemic species. There is a long military history as its position in the English Channel just off the Cherbourg peninsula means its ideally situated to keep an eye on the French! In the 19th Century a dozen or so defensive forts were strung around the coastline, now in varying states of repair. During the Second World War the Channel Islands were occupied by German forces and Alderney was completely evacuated from 1940 until 1945. The evidence of this occupation is clearly evident all over the island in the form of hundreds of concrete bunkers, gun emplacements and fortifications. These things add up to make Alderney a great place to explore!
As Conservation Officer here I’m responsible for the conservation planning for the terrestrial reserves and our other sites and the development of the annual conservation work programme. In the absence of a Reserves Officer for the last 4 months I have also been responsible for delivering the practical conservation management work and leading the twice weekly sessions with our conservation volunteers.