Visitors to Lihou Island are being urged to take extra care when roaming around the island, as birds have been building their "well camouflaged" nests closer to the footpaths than usual in recent months.
The corona virus lockdown has meant that some of the wildlife on Lihou has flourished even more than usual in the absence of any human disturbance.
The lack of disturbance has seen nesting birds relax, building their nests so close to the footpaths that in some cases they can be seen only a feet few away.
Steve Sarre, Warden of the Lihou Charitable Trust, said visitors should stay on the designated footpath.
Pictured: The internationally important oystercatcher is one of the species that has taken advantage of Lihou's quieter habitat in recent months.
If you see a bird nest close to a footpath, the best thing to do is carry on walking at a steady pace in order to reduce disturbance. If disturbed too regularly, Mr Sarre said birds may abandon their nests and with it any eggs or chicks they may have.
“This is my favourite time to come across to Lihou with all of the new flowers, butterflies and the nesting sea birds," he said.
"It is stunning and if you take your time and don’t rush you will get to see a lot more of the wildlife around you. We all need to ensure that we are respectful to the nesting birds and stick to the paths. Just remember that we are the visitors not the birds, as this is their home.”
Jamie Hooper, Conservation Officer at La Société Guernesiaise, said bird nests are deliberately well camouflaged to help hide from predators, which makes it very difficult to spot a nest if a parent bird isn’t sitting on it.
Pictured: Lihou Island Warden Steve Sarre has an eclectic role that ranges from looking after the Lihou House to looking after the island's abundant wildlife.
Some species of song bird also nest in the grassland on Lihou Island, which would be almost impossible to spot underfoot.
“Lihou Island provides a unique opportunity to watch nesting gulls at very close range. This gives a great insight into our locally important wildlife. It is important to remember however, that these are wild birds which are vulnerable to human disturbance and interference so we would ask everyone to keep their distance and remember that the welfare of the birds, their eggs and their chicks must always come first.”
The Lihou Island causeway opening times for this weekend, and other dates can be found HERE.
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