The official website for the States of Guernsey

Today

St Peter Port & St Sampson
Blue Bag
Clear Bag
Food Waste
Black Bag
Glass Bag

All Other Parishes
Blue Bag
Clear Bag
Food Waste
Black Bag
Glass Bag
More Information
weather iconCloudy with rain or drizzle, mist and a risk of hill fog patches.
High18°CLow14°C
5 day forecastTide timetables
weather iconCloudy with rain or drizzle, mist and a risk of hill fog patches.
High18°CLow14°C
5 day forecastTide timetables
Sign In

Guernsey joins Seabirdwatch on World Wildlife Day and kick-starts the Strategy for Nature action plan

Share this page

Friday 05 March 2021

To kick-start some of the work streams in the Strategy for Nature action plan for 2021, a wildlife camera has been set up for World Wildlife Day in the hopes of gaining insight into Guernsey seabird populations. World Wildlife Day was celebrated on the 3rd March to help raise awareness of the important role wildlife has in balancing our environment.

The camera, which will capture time-lapse photographs, has been installed at Lihoumel, the western most islet by Lihou, to observe a colony of shags.

It will remain in place to capture images for the spring and summer. These images will then be analysed using Artificial Intelligence software to identify the birds, plus a little help from the public.

This is part of an initiative called Seabirdwatch - a project led by Oxford University and with research partners from all cross the north Atlantic.

Taking part in this initiative forms part of the Strategy for Nature's data gathering work stream and also links with the development of the Ramsar management plan. A Ramsar site is an area classified as internationally important wetland and, due in part to significance of the Island's bird breeding sites and the colony of shags that live there, Lihou and the surrounding area acquired this designation in 2006.

Emily Coule of Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services said:

"This method of research is particularly valuable as it avoids disturbance during a crucial time. As in other years, the public are asked to stay away from Lihou shingle bank and Lihoumel during the bird breeding season between January and August. Ropes have already been placed to warn the public of these areas."

By analysing images of seabird colonies, ACLMS can start to understand more about breeding success, chick survival, timing of breeding and more.

It is important to monitor our seabird populations as they are one of the most threatened bird groups globally. Whilst feeding at sea they are vulnerable to increasingly frequent storms, pollution and pressure on their food sources. Their nest sites on land can be impacted by invasive predators, habitat destruction and human disturbance. Unfortunately, there is anecdotal evidence that the local populations have been decreasing, reflecting the global trend. Shags play an important role in our local ecosystem and can indicate the condition of the wider environment.

Julia Henney, Biodiversity Officer, said:

"The information we will capture will help us understand how our seabirds are faring and even indicate the health of our oceans. This is the first time information of this detail has been gathered from our local seabirds and we are very excited to find out much more about these internationally important birds and how we can help conserve their populations."

The camera photos will be made available in around a year's time when we will enter the citizen's science phase and invite Islanders to head online and help us identify images of birds and their chicks. Humans are very good at this and the information we input helps to improve the ability of AI technology to identify birds in the images.

The citizen's science phase of the project aligns with the objectives of the Strategy for Nature for increasing awareness and accessibility to nature. Shags are an important species of seabird which play an important role in our local ecosystem and it is hoped the project will open up the world of wildlife and science to the public in a way that it is easy to get involved with and make a real difference.

Share this page

Useful Pages

Add To Home

To add this page to the homescreen of your phone, go to the menu button and "Add to homescreen".


The menu button may look like
Three Dots or Box with an Arrow *some browsers' menu buttons may vary.