Another introduction this morning - Filip our Ramsar Officer.
As Ramsar Officer for the Alderney Wildlife Trust it is my job to look after the island’s Ramsar Site. This is an area of wild coastline and ocean which includes the rocky islets where all of Alderney’s famous seabirds can be found throughout the summer months. This includes the two internationally important gannetries of Ortac and Les Etacs. These rocks are important because every spring 8,500 pairs of gannets use them to try to raise a chick. How many gannets is that altogether? We are very lucky on Alderney because our gannets are doing really well, in fact, their numbers are increasing each year which says a lot for the health of our waters.
Also found in our Ramsar Site is Burhou. Quite unwelcoming at first with waves crashing against its rugged coast, some of the most charismatic seabirds make this tiny island their home from March to July. Once you get past the harsh rocky shoreline, Burhou opens up into a grassy area covered with boulders. Dotted around are dozens of entrances to a maze-like warren, a network of tunnels which now holds not only rabbits but also Alderney’s colony of puffins.
You can see some pictures of Burhou and the seabirds we find there at our gallery here
Other puffin colonies are made up of burrows which the puffins dig themselves, using their large blade-like beaks as shovels to cut through the soil. On Burhou, the ready-made warren means this is unnecessary, so right now the puffins are cleaning out the muddy holes and preparing a nest where they will lay their single egg for 2016. We have already counted 130 puffins so we hope to have a good year and see lots of pufflings taking their first steps out of the burrows!
Currently puffins are Red listed which means they are globally threatened with long-term decline in numbers. Can you think of three reasons why this might be?