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Birds of Guernsey (1879) And the Neighbouring Islands: Alderney, Sark, Jethou, Herm; Being a Small Contribution to the Ornitholony of the Channel Islands   By: (1826-1890)

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BEING A SMALL CONTRIBUTION TO The Ornitholony of the Channel Islands






Though perhaps not possessing the interest to the ornithologist which Lundy Island (the only breeding place of the Gannet in the South West of England) or the Scilly Islands possess, or being able to produce the long list of birds which the indefatigable Mr. Gäetke has been able to do for his little island, Heligoland, the avifauna of Guernsey and the neighbouring islands is by no means devoid of interest; and as little has hitherto been published about the Birds of Guernsey and the neighbouring islands, except in a few occasional papers published by Miss C.B. Carey, Mr. Harvie Browne, myself, and a few others, in the pages of the 'Zoologist,' I make no excuse for publishing this list of the birds, which, as an occasional visitor to the Channel Islands for now some thirty years, have in some way been brought to my notice as occurring in these Islands either as residents, migrants, or occasional visitants.

Channel Island specimens of several of the rarer birds mentioned, as well as of the commoner ones, are in my own collection; and others I have seen either in the flesh or only recently skinned in the bird stuffers' shops. For a few, of course, I have been obliged to rely on the evidence of others; some of these may appear, perhaps, rather questionable, as, for instance, the Osprey, but I have always given what evidence I have been able to collect in each case; and where evidence of the occurrence was altogether wanting, I have thought it better to omit all mention of the bird, though its occasional occurrence may seem possible.

I have confined myself in this list to the Birds of Guernsey and the neighbouring islands Sark, Alderney, Jethou and Herm; in fact to the islands included in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. I have done this as I have had no opportunity of personally studying the birds of Jersey, only having been in that island once some years ago, and then only for a short time, and not because I think a notice of the birds of Jersey would have been devoid of interest, though whether it would have added many to my list maybe doubtful. Professor Ansted's list, included in his large and very interesting work on the Channel Islands, is hitherto the only attempt at a regular list of the Birds of the Channel Islands; but as he, though great as a geologist, is no ornithologist, he was obliged to rely in a great measure on information received from others, and this apparently was not always very reliable, and he does not appear to have taken much trouble to sift the evidence given to him. Professor Ansted himself states that his list is necessarily imperfect, as he received little or no information from some of the Islands; in fact, Guernsey and Sark appear to be the only two from which much information had been received. This is to be regretted, as it has made the notice of the distribution of the various birds through the Islands, which he has denoted by the letters a, e, i, o, u [1] appended to the name of each bird, necessarily faulty. The ornithological notes, however, supplied by Mr. Gallienne are of considerable interest, and are generally pretty reliable. It is rather remarkable, however, that Professor Ansted has not always paid attention to these notes in marking the distribution of the birds through the various Islands.

No doubt many of the birds included in Professor Ansted's list were included merely on the authority of specimens in the museum of the Mechanics' Institute, which at one time was a pretty good one; and had sufficient care been taken to label the various specimens correctly as to place and date, especially distinguishing local specimens from foreign ones, of which there were a good many, would have been a very interesting and useful local museum; as it is, the interest of this museum is considerably deteriorated... Continue reading book >>

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