At the beginning of the season we announced that we were watching 13 pairs but the final count of those that successfully bred was six. So what happened?
Pair 1: the female disappeared over winter but the odd report of two birds in this area left us hopeful. However, only last years breeding male could be found.
Pair 2: four chicks successfully fledged.
Pair 3: Nest building and courting behaviour seen but nothing more happened. We assume the female is too young to breed.
Pair 4: This pair chose to build a nest in a cave on a beach. After completing the nest no more happened. Possibly, the female is too young. However, they would have also been disturbed by beach users which may have put them off trying.
Pair 5: this is an established breeding pair but midway during the hatching period (once hatched, chicks stay in the nest for five weeks before fledging), the adults were seen carrying nest materials. This is an indication that all was not well and something had happened to the chicks. However, nest building was brief and they continued to visit the original nest site as if they still had chicks. On checking the nest, we found it empty and presumed predation.
Pair 6: This pair were monitored nest building but lost interest. They were of breeding age so it may have been down to human disturbance by climbers/kayakers or predator disturbance.
Pair 7: This nest was visited with four chicks ringed but only three fledged.
Pair 8: One chick fledged.
Pair 9: four chicks fledged.
Pair 10: Failed for the second year running. We are wondering whether even though this nest site was used with great success by another pair for seven years, the local ravens have finally figured out how to access it.
Pair 11: The story of the season! It appears that after the females period of sitting on the eggs, her partner disappeared and she was left to bring up her chick which she fledged successfully on her own. However, a young male has joined forces with her. After initial disagreements, they seem to have settled down as a family of three.
Pair 12: one chick fledged.
Pair 13: After attempting to nest build, they gave up and moved off down the coast.
NB when an adult bird 'disappears' it is more likely due to natural mortality i.e illness, killed in fight or predated.
Photo by Chough Watcher Paul Mason.