2nd March Talk: Introduction to the Guernsey Biological Records Centre

An introduction to the Guernsey Biological Record Centre

Many of us know what a Biological Record Centre is, as the name explains it very well, but a lot of us don’t know what a Record Centre does, how you can be a part of one or even what makes a record.

So what kind of records exactly do we want?

In a nutshell – all of them! Of particular interest are the normal animals you see. I can almost guarantee people will tell me about a rare bird visiting Guernsey or a rare plant being discovered. The humble hedgehog, rabbit or rat? Not so much. If you’d like to find out more and why I am so interested in common biological records, please do come along to the talk I am giving on;

Saturday 2nd March 2019 at 11:00 am at the Frossard Lecture Theatre, Candie Gardens. 

The talk will be about 45 minutes long with questions at the end. I’ll start by introducing myself and talking a little bit about my research history. Yes, Antarctica will make a brief appearance as will penguins. Then I’ll move onto our very own Record Centre, what we do, why that’s important and talk about some of the projects going on and events planned for this year.

Posted in Event, Guernsey Biological Record Centre, News

2018 Wrap Up

2018 was a busy and exciting year for the Guernsey Biological Record Centre!

In May we migrated to a new database mapping programme, DistmapsPro. This incorporates all the features of the original Distmaps but within ArcGIS Pro. The Record Centre’s focus is the collection, management and interpretation of wildlife data to support the conservation, understanding and enjoyment of local biodiversity and we can now do this using the latest mapping technology.

Jane Gilmour began enjoying a well earnt retirement at the end of June and I was appointed as the new manager towards the end of year. Growing up in Guernsey is a naturalist paradise and you can read about how this led me on a journey across the world, through the tropics to Antarctica and back again on our About Us page.

Other highlights of 2018 included;

Small Mammal Surveying 

Imperial College visited Guernsey during May and June and their surveying revealed that our voles are, on average 10% larger than their European cousins.

The largest vole measured was 13.6 cm (5.4 in) in length. That’s 2 mm larger than the previous record and is thought to be the largest European common vole ever recorded!

Why are Guernsey Voles so big? We don’t yet know, but may be related to the Island Rule Hypotheses.


The publication of the revised and updated Check List of Guernsey Plants by Rachel Rabey and Jane Gilmour – click here to purchase

Guernsey black-backed meadow ant nest site survey data was included in Guernsey Facts and Figures Booklet 2018 (p 108) – click here to view the booklet 

As more records are confirmed I’ll be updating this post to show some of the fantastic flora and fauna we have living among us.


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Project Ormer

Towards the end of 2018 the Marine Biology Section of La Société Guernesiaise kick-started Project Ormer!

So what is Project Ormer?

Project Ormer is a long-term project to research our island’s precious ormer population! It aims to discover aspects of ormer biology, ecology, and behaviour, as well gain information about the size of Guernsey’s ormer population.

Volunteers carry out surveys at low tide, carefully inspecting and turning rocks while searching for ormers, and taking a number of measurements, when an ormer is found.

Each ormer is photographed and tagged with a yellow label that has a unique code and fixed to the shell with water-activated glue. This means every individual may be identified if it is found again and allows us to monitor population changes and environmental preferences.

Finally the habitat was carefully returned to the condition it was found in, with rocks being photographed, measured and replaced and GPS coordinates recorded.

Sites are re-visited periodically so that ormers may be re-measured, contributing valuable data to our research.

Laura Bampton, marine biology section secretary, is coordinating the project and has overseen three tagging events at Lihou intertidal zone since October 2018.

If you have any questions about the project, or would like to get involved, please email marinebiology@societe.org.gg

These photos show what a tagged ormer looks like, and what to do if you find a tagged ormer.

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Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy)

An exciting opportunity has opened with the States of Guernsey.

Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy)

Service Area: Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services

Grade: EGI- £32,469 – £35,090 per annum

Full Time (3-Year Contract)

The States of Guernsey is looking for a Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy) to join their team in Agriculture, Countryside and land Management Services. The Project Coordinator (Asian Hornet Strategy) will be jointly responsible for the implementation of the Asian Hornet Strategy (2019-2021). The aim of the strategy is to prevent the establishment of Asian hornets in Guernsey in order to minimize their risk to the public and to biodiversity. The post holder will also be jointly responsible for the implementation of an island wide programme of trapping queen Asian hornets in the spring and will be responsible for reviewing the strategy on an annual basis.

The post holder will work in close conjunction with the Field & Research Officer (Asian Hornet Strategy), as well as the Agriculture, Countryside & Land Management Services team (The Office of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure) of which they will be a part. The post holder will report to the Environment Services Officer and will be required to provide cover for the Field & Research Officer in the event of absence.

Job Description

Contact: Lisa Duggan, Environmental Services Officer, on email: lisa.duggan@gov.gg

We strongly advise that applicants speak to the contact named above before applying for this post.

Closing Date: 03 January 2019.

Candidates should upload supporting information to demonstrate how they meet the key criteria for the role. This should be in addition to any CV or cover letter supplied and should have clear examples of how each is met. The key criteria can be found within the job description which is available by clicking the job description link above. The information provided by candidates will be used by the shortlisting panel when selecting candidates for interview.

Note – Internal applicants are required to inform their Line Manager before applying for any States of Guernsey positions. Internal references may be taken up prior to interview.

Appointment to this role will be subject to the following pre-employment checks which will be completed following an offer of employment:
• Satisfactory references which must include one from the candidate’s current line manager
• Satisfactory, Basic Police Check, which can be obtained, at the candidates own expense, from the Guernsey Vetting Bureau, New Jetty, White Rock, St Peter Port, after an offer of appointment has been made. Convictions likely to be considered relevant to this post include crimes involving, but not limited to, theft violence, dishonesty, fraud, vulnerable individuals and children
• Confirmation of required qualifications / registrations
• Possession of a valid Right to Work document

Should the successful applicant not meet the requirements sufficiently he/she may be appointed at a lower grade than stated. The successful applicant would then have the opportunity to progress to the grade advertised once the necessary skills and knowledge have been developed and the postholder has demonstrated the ability to undertake the duties at the higher level.

To apply for this role please on the below link to go to gov.gg and click on the search/apply button.



Posted in Asian hornets, Career opportunity, Guernsey, News

Well Earned Retirement for Jane!

Jane Gilmour took semi-retirement at the end of June this year from the day to day management of the Guernsey Biological Record Centre.

Jane Gilmour

Botanist and Ecologist with over 30 years experience in the field in Guernsey, including taking part and organising in various surveys, such as the survey of our quarries and of plant galls. I currently co-ordinate a ‘tunnels and fortifications’ bat study. An exciting discovery is that the Greater Horseshoe Bat is here for at least part of the year. We had considered it extinct so this is great news.

I am a past Chairman of both the Reserves and Scientific Committees of La Société Guernesiaise and the current BSBI vice-county recorder for Guernsey and Herm. I can be found surveying and recording a variety of plants and animals, as well as taking part in practical management activities such as raking grasslands and removing invasive plants.

I also garden with wildlife in mind, especially looking at ways of ensuring a wide range of native animals and plants can be accommodated in such confined spaces. Bumble bees are a particular focus, as their numbers can be dramatically influenced by sympathetic planting and management and they are suffering badly due to loss of habitat, not helped by the recent extremes of weather.

A Personal Thank-You

Dear Jane,

I would like to personally congratulate you on your retirement. I have enjoyed volunteering with you over the last couple of years and consider you both a fount of incredible knowledge and expertise, local and global, a friend and an enjoyable presence in the office, as well.

While you will be missed by all of us, you certainly deserve your retirement. Your hard work and diligence have greatly benefited us, the Société, innumerable committees you’ve chaired or been a member of, and the local community. Your contributions, dedication and passion for ecology, education, conservation and willingness to help everyone will be sorely missed here at the Record Centre. Although I do hope to tempt you pop in and continue to inspire and educate!

It has always been my pleasure to work with you. So, while I am saddened to see you go, I am confident that you will find the same success and happiness in retirement that you experienced during your time here.

I wish you the best in your future endeavours. Retirement will surely offer you many new opportunities, which I know you will embrace wholeheartedly, just as you did during your tenure at the Record Centre.


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Purple Sulphur Bacteria at the Richmond end of Vazon – Photo by David Chamberlain

Purple Sulphur Bacteria by David Chamberlain

Posted in News, Uncategorized

Common Carder Bee on Helianthus

September Bee

Posted in News