Who are the Chough Watchers?

Here's Terry  - I am told by a very reliable source that this lens is called the 'Royal lens' - it is the one that that the paparazzi typically use for celebrity shots.  Well, our choughs are Cornish royalty you know. Unlike the paparazzi Terry does not need to chase after his subjects he just spends hours and has really got to know the choughs and their habits so he can photograph them without disturbing them.

Terry kindly lets us use his photographs because us staff have teeny cameras and are really rubbish at taking photos of things that move. And I am not sure I eat enough spinach to lift a lens like that!

Thanks Terry

Snap!  Terry by Alec Farr
Terry by Alec Farr

The Big Day

Today was the day we expectant watchers get very nervous and very excited about.

Tony Cross, chough ringer extraordinaire has paid the chough pairs a visit and has ringed a total of 17 chicks across 5 nests.

Well done choughs and a big well done to the chough watchers.

The next milestone in the breeding season is when the chicks fledge. Can't wait!

The Call Of The Wild

Every year during the breeding season, we put up notices asking dog owners to keep their pets under control or place them on leads. This probably gives the impression we are anti-dog. Well...

...You see the dog in the picture? I adore this dog. I am far from being anti-dog. He is not my dog but as far as I am concerned he can do no wrong. We as people are very protective over that which we love. Animal or human and those that are parents especially your children.  I have seen Barkley chase after birds. Mostly swallows or pipits. I don't believe he would or could catch one and that he is just playing (I adore him remember) but he is a natural predator and as they don't know him and don't know that he won't hurt them, I have to question whether they are encouraging him to chase them which is how it can appear.

Choughs do see dogs as a threat. I know because I have seen a chough dive at a dog and call alarmingly that has come too close to its nest site a number of times.  The same way it would try and fight off a stoat, a fox or a bird of prey. Choughs are being good parents and protecting their young. We are only trying to help them out with our notices and ask that you help them out also. Keeping dogs away goes towards giving them a safe sanctuary during their breeding time.

Your dog might not hurt a fly normally but they are animals with natural instincts to hunt and when chicks first fledge the nest they are not fully aware of the risks to them in the outside world and are not strong flyers straight away. They are much slower to take off. Therefore a dog might come across a young chick and before the chick realises it is there and before you know it, your dog had a new toy.

I really hope you can understand and take this on board. We are animal lovers and care for all of nature. Just trying to give those less fortunate a helping hand.

Thanks for listening.

Posted from a Cornish cliff top.

Another record breaking year for the Cornish choughs

The Cornwall Chough Project team (RSPB, National Trust and Natural England) are delighted to say that Cornwall’s choughs have had another fantastic year.

Five nests have successfully produced at least 16 youngsters. We have also witnessed what we believe is the earliest fledging ever recorded in the UK with some young chough on the wing by third week in May.

At Southerly Point on the Lizard where the long-standing pair have nested every year since 2002, the brood is expected to take to the wing next week, why not take a trip down to see them, the watch point is open 10-5 every day weather permitting until 17 June.

Thanks to a growing team of volunteers we have been able to keep track of all the birds,
ensure their nests are undisturbed and run the public watchpoint at Southerly Point.

If you would like to catch up with the choughs and all the latest news there will be a Wildlife Weekend on the Lizard 23/24 June with lots of free activities for all the family.

Thank you to chough watchers Dave Brown and Paul Gillard for the photos.

Please remember if you see a chough family, please give them space and don't try to get too close.