Home and Away

The slight change in species

An Article by Mike Stentiford, MBE

I recently found it necessary to leave my home in Jersey to partake of an impromptu dalliance in the south of England.

 

 

Included in my unplanned itinerary, however, were explorations around the environs of the New Forest, which, due to autumn’s skill at seasonal airbrushing, I have to say looked particularly ravishing. Although not strictly intended as a home-from-home wildlife foray, I couldn’t help but notice the stark differences between the species in this part of the UK and those in the Channel Islands.

This proved particularly relevant with regards any medium to large animals, deer, foxes and badgers (all non-existent in Jersey) being a point in question. Even lower down the pecking order, creatures such as dormice, water voles and harvest mice have never once shown any desire to become Channel Island residents.

One little chap that tends to buck the trend, however, is a chubby little fellow known as the Jersey bank vole, its clan being found nowhere else on the planet. Small but prestigious one might say?

On my visit, though, I found the differences in bird species the most noticeable. Although it might seem truly odd to admit, I gained great pleasure in the sight and sound of rooks and jackdaws, the former long since extinct in Jersey and the latter found in but one small local coastal colony. The nuthatch is another species that has no truck with the Channel Islands although we can at least boast the presence of the Short-toed treecreeper as opposed to the UK’s Common chappie.

Although recorded around Jersey’s bird-tables in very small numbers, the delightfully neat and pristine Coal tit also appears far more prevalent around Britain’s woodlands, parks and feeding stations; a fact that must surely bring great pleasure to any garden watcher.

Additionally, and despite showing a marked decrease in its population, the bonny little Tree sparrow is, at least, still present in many parts of Britain whereas records in the Channel Islands are extremely few and far between. Many species of birds, of course, are perfectly content to stay put within their own territory so it’s perfectly understandable that unnecessary journeys to the Channel Islands prove totally inconsequential.

One thing we can all be sure about is the plain fact that we appreciate their company and, whether in the UK or down here in the Bay of Mont St Michel, such appreciation can be ever guaranteed via the attraction of a fully laden bird feeder,whatever the species!


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