“It’s been a good year for the Glanville Fritillary!”

“Hmm, the Ringed Plovers haven’t done so well this year”

These are the kind of thing you’ll hear people who seem to know what they are talking about saying… but how do they know?

Well, a lot of this kind of talk is anecdotal – based on general observations and experience. But it is far more useful to be able to say definitely how many more Glanville Fritillaries have been seen this year compared with previous years, and how much less successful the Ringed Plover breeding attempts have been this year. Having this kind of information allows us to build up a picture over time of how populations are doing and what factors affect their success.

The best way to make sure you have this information is to set up systematic surveys using a fixed method which is the same every year. The AWT runs a series of surveys for all sorts of wildlife so that we can see how they are doing and decide if we need to change anything in order to make things better for them.

Some of these include butterfly and bumblebee transects, where you walk a fixed route and count the numbers of each species you see along the way; bat surveys and Long-Eared Owl surveys, where you stand at fixed points and listen out for their night-time calls.

As well as helping us know more about what we have here on Alderney, it’s also been a great way for me to learn more about different groups of animals and improve my own wildlife recognition skills!

From Mariko our Conservation Officer