This week I’ve been in England flying the flag for Alderney and the Channel Islands by attending the Sandwich Bay bird observatory ringing training course. This well established observatory on the Kent coast has excellent facilities and pedigree. It was a great honour to be asked to take part as the course as ‘ independent assessor’, particularly as our own bird Observatory develops it was also been a chance to pick up good ideas and tips to help us progress. The ABO are looking to host our own training course for bird ringers which will be a first for the Channel islands, so for several reasons this was time well spent. The course, organised and led by Ian and Sally Hunter was to my mind an enormous success. Most of the attendees were trainee ringers looking to obtain experience, with a few additional participants attending hoping for licence upgrades. I do not have final figures but I suspect we processed well over 500 birds that included 19 Garden Warblers one morning. Moult in birds was studied in detail and best practice in standards covered across a variety of aspects of ringing.  Thanks to all at Sandwich Bay for a splendid few days.


House Martin pulli, Sandwich Bay – photo JH/ABO

Whilst away I have kept in touch with developments on the home front that have included some ringing by Justin our assistant warden, sea watching by Paul and Catherine Veron  and a report from Rose Farm of a passing rarity.

A Barn Owl was seen in the Houme Herbe area.  On the 8th 2 Sandwich Tern at the Longis Bay high tide roost (one a juvenile) A Great White Egret visited the pond at Rose Farm was reported by Mark Atkinson the morning of the 9th of August, after a short stay the bird was seen flying out towards Fort Clonque. Sea-watching on the 9th produced 1 Arctic and 1 Great Skua, 7 Balearic & 1 Manx Shearwater and 4 Mediterranean Gulls. A single Green Sandpiper was on Longis pond.

Our appeal through the BTO for donations of ringing equipment continues and this week another kind offer of some ringing kit has been gratefully accepted. Full details of ringing kit donations at those who have stepped forward to help us out will appear in end of this months blog.

Lastly, recently we had a visit to the observatory from John & Sue Palmer. John & Sue had visited the Obs spring 2016 with Johns brother Colin not long after we launched the ABO. The three had soon after sent us a lovely email saying how much they had enjoyed their visit to the Obs and in particular a bird ringing demonstration. Now this return trip to the ABO by John and Sue was very specific. John explained that sadly his brother Colin had passed on; going on to tell us that because Colin had enjoyed his visit with us last year so much, he had left the ABO £2500.  Colin had apparently been very fond of Alderney for many years and was particularly keen that the new bird observatory project be a success. The fact that John and Sue went to the trouble of coming back to tell us Colins story and present the cheque in person, was both wonderful and humbling. This donation could not have come at a better time as we push to furnish and make ready the new bird observatory and field centre for a grand opening spring next year. From all of us at the ABO, thank you John and Sue, and most of all thank you Colin.


John Palmer, brother of Colin, presenting us with his brothers donation.