Wildlife depicted on Alderney stamps
For immediate release – 25 January, 2016
Some of the animals and plants found at Alderney Longis Nature Reserve are depicted on Alderney stamps to be issued by Guernsey Post (issue date 17 February).
Longis’ network of footpaths and two bird hides provide the perfect opportunity to discover the diversity of habitats and wildlife. Visitors to the hides are likely to spot the Meadow Pipit, a common Alderney resident bird (62p stamp). In winter these social creatures gather in small flocks, often invisible among the vegetation, before suddenly flying up with typical jerky flight.
Throughout the grasslands of Longis are a wide diversity of invertebrates, nearly 100 of national importance, some of which have not yet occurred in the UK. These include moths and butterflies such as the beautiful but vulnerable Glanville Fritillary (56p stamp), which, whilst common in Alderney, occurs only as a single population in mainland Britain where it is found in the Isle of Wight.
The Reserve also has a few mammals of interest such as the Greater White-toothed Shrew (77p stamp), found regularly in Alderney but not in mainland Britain, which is the common prey of Alderney’s Common Buzzards, Kestrels and Barn Owls.
Longis Reserve includes the coastal footpath from where, on the rocky ledges below, the small but perfectly formed Sand Crocus flower can be seen, which occurs in Alderney’s short coastal grasslands during April (68p stamp). Whilst nationally rare and vulnerable in the UK it is relatively common in the Channel Islands.
Whilst very rare on Guernsey and mainland Britain, later in the year the purple coloured spikes of Yarrow Broomrape are also a familiar sight in the Reserve’s grasslands (57p stamp).
The deeper waters of Longis Bay are home to some of the largest Eelgrass beds in Alderney (42p stamp), which are flowering plants (Angiosperms) classified as Near Threatened by IUCN. They are usually found on sand, mud or gravel substrates within the subtidal and lower intertidal parts of the marine environment and are important as they can support a range of marine life.
Said Bridget Yabsley, acting head of philatelic at Guernsey Post: - “Managed by the Alderney Wildlife Trust, Longis Reserve covers around 105 hectares of public and private land, making it the island’s largest terrestrial reserve. Its 13 habitats support a huge diversity of species, which are able to find shelter, food and breeding sites, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to feature some of them on our stamps.”
The stamps are available to pre-order from 1st February 2016 at www.guernseystamps.com or by calling Philatelic Customer Services on (01481) 716486.