Thanks to our unique habitat Alderney is home to rare flora and fauna, much of which you’ll be hard pushed to find, let alone see elsewhere.
The Alderney Blonde Hedgehog
Alderney is lucky to be home of the Blonde Hedgehog - a rare leucistic form of the European Hedgehog. Half of Alderney’s hedgehogs are blonde and so it is quite easy to see them. They can be found foraging all around the island soon after sunset from spring to autumn.
Whether you’re a bird expert or a wildlife amateur, the sight of the Alderney’s gannet colony will certainly astonish you.
This majestic bird which has the biggest wingspan of any European seabird come to breed on two of Alderney’s rocky outcrops: Les Etacs with nearly 6,000 pairs and Ortac with another 2,700 pairs, which is 1% of the world’s northern gannet population. They arrive in mid-February and stay until the end of September and can be seen from the cliff top overlooking Les Etacs or from a guided boat tour, available April to October. The noise they make is amazing and smell unforgettable!
Puffins are one of the most iconic residents of Alderney and are very easy to recognise with their funny and colourful beak.
They arrive on Burhou (a tiny islet 2 miles northwest of Alderney) in late March and leave in early August, coming here only to rear their young. Their stay on Burhou is their only time on land during the year, the rest is spent out at sea in the Atlantic. Just over a hundred puffin pairs nest and raise their single chick here, many using rabbit burrows. Most keep the same mate and same burrow year after year.
The puffins can only be seen from the sea. Boat tours are available from April to October with operators abiding by a wildlife code of conduct.
You can however watch the puffins live via the Alderney Wildlife Trust’s PuffinCam from anywhere in the world during the breeding season.
The beautiful Glanville Fritillary, which, whilst rare in the UK is quite common in Alderney. The orange and brown chequered butterfly can be seen all over the island especially on the South Cliffs, as well at Longis Reserve and along the railway track.
Spotted Rock Rose
The nationally rare Spotted Rock-Rose grows in an area along the South Cliffs of the island. It flowers from June to August, and has beautiful blooms, which are pale yellow with a dark crimson spot at the base of each petal. To see the Spotted Rock-Rose in full bloom you have to catch it at just the right time. It flowers only once during its lifetime and usually sheds its petals before noon, so must be looked for in the morning!
A pod of Atlantic Grey Seals breed on rocks behind the small islet of Burhou during late autumn and can often be seen in the bays or from boats moving around the island.