Saturday, 18 August 2012

Jersey bliss...

I had to go over to my mums house on Jersey to give the spare room a lick of paint, and replace some very dodgy guttering. I thought whilst at it I would install a few water butts and have a look at the garage roof, I'm convinced it's asbestos, luckily after a check from an expert it wasn't..phew.
I love going over to Jersey, it's like how France should be (joke), all the street names in French, very friendly people, yellow phone boxes and little gems to find all over the island. It truly is a photographers dream, great wildlife, flora, landscapes/seascapes and some unique historic structures ranging from WW2 installations and fortifications defending the islands from the French etc. Great weather normally too.
I had to pick the keys up from my mums house (her main home in the UK). I opted to go by ferry instead of plane. Number of reasons, but the two clinchers of the ferry over plane was 1:No baggage limit and not having to try and decide what camera gear to leave behind, no excess baggage etc and not having to trust some dodgy luggage handler throwing your bags around 2:Leaving from Poole harbour was a better choice than a dreary Luton airport. I mean I left Northants early to avoid the rush hour traffic. I did so well that I was able to check out a heathland section of the new forest (Dartford warbler,Stonechat and Buzzard) before breakfast and having arrived a good few hours before departure I parked up in a carpark where the car was no more than a 10 feet away from the pebble beach, here I got House Sparrows, 2 Ringed Plovers, a small flock of 10 Turnstones and several Sandwich Terns, you can't get that at Luton airport...just screaming little kids etc. There's the added bonus of leaving Poole harbour you go right past the scrape at Brownsea Island, never been there before, but I liked what I saw as the boat sailed past. Also you can have enough time for a quick pint (or three) a walk around in fresh air trying to spot any interesting birds. To be honest there wasn't much in the way of birds until we got to Guernsey where we sailed past a Gannet colony and Shags were also spotted.
Like I've already mentioned this wasn't a birding trip, but I was going to squeeze in a little bit of birding. My main target areas were St.Ouens Pond and St.Ouens bay, the main birds here are Marsh Harriers, Bearded Tits, Kestrel, Little Egret, Turnstones, Rock Pipits, Green Lizards. Also Les Landes, Noirmont and Porelet Common/Quaisnet Common, great for Meadow Pipits,Skylarks,Dartford warblers (though I didn't catch up with the Dartfords nor Cirl buntings GUTTED) etc. My mums house is near the airport so I also had great walks down the Greve de Lecq valley and down to Greve de Lecg bay, i encountered Red Squirrels and Tree Creepers, one nice lady I bumped into informed me that they were Short Toed treecreepers but not getting even a decent record shot I couldn't be sure but I took here at her word, she also told me about a location of a pair of breeding Cirl Buntings and how it was a new site for them I passed up the chance seeming as it was a new site, I didn't want to be the one that disturbed them. This kind lady then took me in her car up to Plemont Bay where we walked up to Plemont Point then turned around (I was knackered) and headed back towards Grosnez Point. Plenty of Rock Doves along this stretch, a Peregrine, Kestrel,Marsh Harrier(Grosnez Point),Wrens,Gannet's and Shags out at sea. Judith then told me about how Puffins used to be along here and also on the way home showed me a Barn Owl. Great lady and bearing in mind I hadn't met her before was very friendly (I mean she let a complete stranger in her car and showed me a few spots I was unaware of). I haven't had much chance to go through my images yet, I will eventually. On a slightly strange note I swear the Wrens on the island are slightly bigger not by much and I convinced myself they also sounded slightly different...or was it the heat? Still despite the spot of DIY a great trip, I'm going again for a winter and then a spring visit too. Would love to see what turns up in the autumn migration but I fear work will get in the way.

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