Wednesday 29 March 2023
Temporary ropes have again been installed on Lihou to protect breeding pairs of internationally important bird species which have been seen nesting around Lihou Island.
The ropes, which are installed for Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services (ACLMS) by the Ornithology Section of La Société Guernsesiaise, mark the areas used by ground-nesting birds to reduce human disturbance. The public are asked to respect these measures and stay within the boundaries of the ropes.
The island and surrounding area is designated as a Ramsar site which means it is an internationally important wetland, in part due to the significance of the island's bird breeding sites. On the main island, various bird species can be found from the familiar robin to the more elusive lesser black-backed gulls. Lihou's rocky outcrops and shingle banks provide a good nesting environment for species such as European shags, oystercatchers, and gulls.
Lihou is a unique site locally because human disturbance is limited due to the tidal range permitting access across the causeway. It is important to reduce disturbance to conserve nesting sites here and around other rocky islets and cliffs so that these species can thrive in their natural environment. The public can also protect Lihou's wildlife by remembering that:
- dogs are not allowed on the causeway or Lihou Island. Dogs are a natural predator and if birds are disturbed whilst foraging this reduces their energy reserves which is especially harmful at a time when they are feeding young.
- breeding sites should be avoided. These sites will be roped off from public access when the restrictions allow.
- Lihoumel, the island to the west of Lihou, and Lissroy, the rock out crop at the end of the shingle bank closest to the headland, should not be visited from February - August, as it is a particularly important breeding site for European shag.
- the public are asked not to walk on the shingle banks, these are important breeding sites for ground-nesting species such as oystercatchers.
- to stay on the paths as nests can be easily trampled on and those of ground nesting song birds may not be visible.