Saturday, 2 March 2013

Just a Jersey footnote

Well I'll be back to mainland UK from Tuesday onwards, gutted, as things are starting to pick up and also having checked out the Jersey website I'm obviously missing out on a lot of birds too. I would strongly recommend anyone planning a visit to Jersey to check the website out before going and you're dependant on your smartphone (who isn't these days!!) to realise you're counted as France so adjust your roaming charges etc.
I've been to the island during all four seasons and would place the seasons in this order 1)Spring-great local birds plus migratory birds moving through 2)Autumn-the same as Spring really 3)Winter-Local birds plus wintering species, sadly weather can be hit and miss, but checking local websites hotel are dirt cheap 4)Summer-Local birds, but as we all know summer can be slow as the breeding season means birds are a lot more elusive, more events take place on the island forcing hotel prices up and making a small island seem a bit crowded.
If you do plan to come to island please realise in self catering food prices like bread is a shockingly high, if you're camping I know BIG motor homes and caravans aren't allowed (narrow roads etc) I'm not sure about camper vans (VW and converted transits) but I did see a converted Mercedes sprinter van.
I would also recommend boat over plane, the plane is cheaper and quicker...but you don't have luggage restrictions on the boat and you also don't have some ape at the airport throwing your bags around and the added bonus of being able to visit some spots around Poole harbour before the boat leaves (not in winter, ferry leaves from Portsmouth though) and the chance to see some birds at sea is always good. Also if you're planning to come by plane you might get a hire car, I've seen no end of hire cars with damaged left wing mirrors (narrow lanes) which will add to your holiday costs. Also hire cars have this odd "H" symbol on the number plate that looks like the symbol associated with hospitals, white "H" on red background, and I've heard locals refer to them as hospital cars...for a reason.
Their is other reasons then just birds, the fauna in spring is impressive and I don't do fauna so that should tell you something, there is a orchid centre on the island that I've been told is worth a visit. Then their is mammals and reptiles such as the Green Lizard and Red Squirrels worth checking for. Also I felt very child like checking out the marine life in the various rock pools too. If you have an interest in history you'll love the island too, whether it be the German fortifications (check out the Underground hospital...well eerie) or the fortifications built by the English to keep out the French.
Talking of which you don't need your passport but it might be worth bringing in case you fancy a quick (5-7 miles away) trip over to France.
My trip this time round hasn't been about birding, but I managed a few trips out with plenty of great scenic walks...I don't WALK so again that tells you something. The birders I have come across have been really,really helpful both in locations and species but also really friendly, none of the attitudes I have remarked about in previous blog posts about "proper" birders are relevant here. In fact those I have met have gone out of their way to make my trips to the island a little bit more enjoyable. That in itself was worth it's weight in gold.
Being a tight bugger if you do come by car, try to make sure on the way over you have only just enough petrol in your car and on the way back fill up your car too, you'll understand exactly how much the government takes in tax on petrol....no jerry cans they do search! LOL
It might be worth checking out Guernsey too from what I've seen on photo sharing websites etc some species are more abundant etc. Sadly if you go to Jersey the chance of island hopping (like the old days) are restricted by boat due to prices. The ferry operator(the sole operator) charges you the same price if you wish to go from Jersey to Guernsey as the price from Jersey to the UK, which sucks big time, you can go over by plane, but is it worth it? So if you're planning a spring break etc in the UK compare the prices for the Channel Islands I CANNOT RECOMMEND IT ANYMORE HIGHLY.
Despite any impressions given or perceived Mr.Mcfarlane doesn't work for the Jersey tourist board..LOL. Also the below image is a backdated image found on my hardrive taken in Norfolk that I for one reason or another never posted.



6 comments:

  1. They are wonderful islands....I used to visit Sark and Guernsey the former for the cave diving which is still a well remembered magical experience.
    Love the Barn Owl....I'd have rushed home to post that.

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  2. Thanks Adrian, I saw a programme with Kate Humble and she went cave diving in Sark too, it looked amazing. The Barn Owl, I would normally have rushed home too, I'm scratching my head wondering how I didn't to be honest I even checked and it does not appear on my website either..oh well.

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  3. Useful information about Jersey - thanks Doug. Youve certainly whetted my appetite!

    Have a safe and pleasant journey home.

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  4. Cheers Richard, there's a link on the left handside of my blog under websites worth a visit for anyone else thinking of a holiday to Jersey..well worth the trip.

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  5. Jersey tourist board should employ you Doug.
    Great write up about the place. I've never visited before, but it's certainly given me something to think about.
    Have a safe trip back.

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    1. Thanks Keith, would be a perfect job, just remember summer is low for birding, you won't regret it. Now where's that application form :)

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