This page updated 9th April 2017  
(Aerial photo above courtesy States of Alderney). Third largest of the Channel Islands, is about 3½ miles long by 1½ miles wide. It has a population of about 2,200 and, like each of the other islands in the group, has its own unique character and wildlife. For example; Alderney and Jersey have a large population of very active Moles. These are totally absent from Guernsey. Hedgehogs have been introduced into most of the islands at various times in the past. Alderney has a unique population of blonde hedgehogs, with brown eyes, hands and feet, in roughly equal numbers to the common brown variety. These are not found in the other islands and none of the Alderney hedgehogs have any fleas. The Shrews differ between several of the islands. Jersey has three species of Lizard (including the Slowworm) in its fauna and Toads, the Agile Frog (a distinct long-legged species now in danger of extinction), Newts and Grass Snakes. Guernsey has one indigenous lizard other than the Slowworm, no snakes; and frogs and toads are introduced species. The status of the newt there is now doubtful. Alderney's only known indigenous reptile was the Slowworm, But in 2009-11 several colonies of Palmate Newts were found after a series of "pond dipping" checks, mainly on domestic premises. Their origin is uncertain but the distribution is sufficiently wide to suggest that they may have been here for a long time but just not noted or recorded as they are small, shy and mainly terrestrial in the summer. The largest wild mammal in any of the islands is the rabbit. Black Rabbits, shown on our 20p stamp, are often seen in Alderney, the lack of predators allowing them to survive.
Guernsey, Sark, Herm and Jersey have large numbers of Magpies, which are rarely, if ever, seen in Alderney. From late January to October, Alderney boasts two large Gannet colonies on offshore rock stacks, one group easily observable from the main island. These figure on our £2 stamp. There are none resident elsewhere in the islands.
Alderney is the only true "Channel" Island, the others being sheltered in the Bay of St. Malo. Its small size means that the climate is generally more equable than Jersey or Guernsey, the proximity of all parts to the sea, with prevailing warm S-westerly winds, helps to keep frost and snow away in the winter and prevent excessive heat in the summer. Midday temperatures below zero are a very rare occurrence and many winters pass without a single record below zero day or night. There are few totally calm days and the sea breezes help to keep maximum summer temperatures usually at around 22-25ºC, with a highest ever record of 30.5º in July 2016. The clear, pollution free, Atlantic air means that there is a high UV content in the sunlight and unwary visitors can easily get sunburnt. Annual sunshine now averages about 2,200 hours and rainfall about 760mm (30 inches). Further details of Alderney climate, provided by the author, can be found on the Alderney States website linked below. There is also a chart in each of the monthly Nature Diaries to be found on the author's own site, accessible by returning to the first (home) page, and in the file natdi13.htm with an annual summary in the January diary.
For more information about Alderney; Click the link which follows, to visit the upgraded States of Alderney Web site, or the brilliant new active, with videos, Tourism website link below it. This can also be accessed from a link on the other site.
Click here to obtain a map of Alderney, which will help those not familiar with the island to pin point places mentioned in my monthly Nature Diaries. The small figures along margins of the map are grid refs. the large figures 1-14 on the map squares refer to the botanical divisions referred to in my 1988 Flora of Alderney and the update accessible from the icon on the Home page.
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