Alderney is the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands. It is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency. It is 5km (3 miles) long and (2.4 km) wide.

The island’s area is 8 km2) (3 square mile), making it the third-largest island of the Channel Islands, and the second largest in the Bailiwick. It is around 10 miles (15 km) to the west of the cape of La Hague on the Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, in France, 20 miles (30 km) to the northeast of Guernsey and 60 miles (100 km) from the south coast of Great Britain. It is the closest of the Channel Islands both to France and to the United Kingdom. It is separated from Cap de la Hague by the dangerous Alderney Race.

The island had a population of just over 2,000. The main town, St Anne, historically known as La Ville (‘The Town’). Other settlements include Braye, Crabby, Longis, Mannez, La Banque, and Newtown.

Birding Alderney

Alderney is similar to the other Channel Islands in having sheer cliffs broken by stretches of sandy beach and dunes. The highest point is on the central plateau of the island at 296 feet (90 metres). Alderney and its surrounding islets support a rich flora and fauna. Trees are rather scarce, as many were cut down in the 17th century to fuel the lighthouses on Alderney and the Casquets. Those trees that remain include cabbage trees (due to the mild climate – often miscalled “palms” but of the asparagus family), and there are some small woods dotted about the island. Puffins on Burhou and gannet on Les Étacs (popularly called Gannet Rock) just off Alderney are a favourite of many visitors to the island.

About a quarter of Alderney hedgehogs are of the “white” or “blonde” variety, which does not carry fleas.

 In August 2005, the west coast of Alderney and associated islands, including Burhou and Ortac, were designated as Ramsar wetlands of international importance. The Alderney Wildlife Trust helps to manage the two nature reserves, at Longis and Vau du Saou.

Top Sites
  • Le Giffoine

    Satellite View
    Coastal heath on the west end of Alderney, dominated by heather, gorse and scrub. Together with Trois Vaux has supported 15 pairs of Dartford Warblers. An excellent site for witnessing the thrills of migration, including raptors such as Osprey, Honey Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Hobby and Black Kite, against a backdrop of 3,500 pairs of breeding Northern Gannets on Les Etacs just 200m offshore.
  • Les Etacs (The Garden Rocks)

    Satellite View
    Surely the most exciting place in Britain to watch Northern Gannets on their breeding grounds without the need for a boat. A small group of igneous rocks rising 39m above sea-level, lying 200m off the west coast of Alderney. With the wind in the west one can see, hear and smell the birds. The colony was established during the Second World War after Alderney had been completely evacuated. It now holds 3,500 pairs of Gannets and is growing. Common Guillemots also breed on Les Etacs.
  • Mainland Alderney

    Satellite View
    A fabulous island for birding. Virtually all the important seabird colonies occur on the cliffs and offshore islets of the south-west corner. They comprise Northern Fulmar (40 pairs); European Shag (200 pairs); Lesser Black-backed Gull (55 pairs); Black-legged Kittiwakes (95 pairs). In addition there are 170 Common Guillemot, 80 Razorbill and about 50 pairs of Puffins. The main colony of Common Terns (30 pairs) nest on islets off the north-east cost of Alderney. Peregrine Falcon, Common Buzzard and Eurasian Sparrowhawk nest, and the island is easily the best of all the Channel Islands for its passage of raptors (a consequence of its close proximity to the French mainland). The island is seriously under-watched. Almost every visit by birders in spring and autumn turns up scarce and/or rare birds.
  • Trois Vaux

    Satellite View
    Coastal heath on the south coast of Alderney, dominated by heather and gorse. Has held breeding Dartford Warblers.
County Recorder
  • Alderney Bird Observatory

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Les Etacs Gannets. Bird Observatories are organisations focused on bird science, education and/or conservation, usually involving station-based monitoring by bird ringing and census research. The summer seabird season at the ABO is a wonderful combination of totally hectic and tantalisingly tranquil Spring and Autumn migrations – a sight to behold. Visit us at the ABO and see for yourself.
Places to Stay
  • Belle Vue Hotel

    Les Butes, Alderney, Channel Islands, GY9 3UN
Other Links
  • Alderney Birdlife

    Alderney supports a host of internationally important and outstanding species of birds, either as residents or passing migrants. The opportunity to spot a rare migrant is always exciting and the island is a popular destination for birdwatchers during peak migration times.

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