Bottoms up!

That's how you recognise a chough from afar, head down and bottom in the air!  Here are some recent images taken by volunteers of the birds busy feeding away-likely on tipulid (cranefly) larvae.  Another favourite food is beetle grubs, especially those found in cow pats.  Some worming treatments given to stock can live on in their dung making it less likely to be colonised by invertebrates, so it is important that animals grazing where choughs feed are wormed using appropriate non avermectin based drugs. 

Choughs near St Agnes. Photo Sue Thomas

Yum! Photo Steve Richards

Heads down at Kynance. Alec Farr

Choughs protecting their cow pat from a jackdaw. Steve Rogers

Grazing’s great! Find out why in this new report

Hornet robberfly by Claudia Watts

A partnership of organisations has been working on a report looking at grazing management along the coastal fringe for choughs and other species.  The study has found that grazing is not only good for choughs but nearly 150 rare and threatened species depend on the varied structure of a mosaic of vegetation that is achieved by grazing.

The study report by RSPB, Plantlife, Buglife, National Trust and Butterfly Conservation has found that there is a high degree of compatibility with the requirements of chough and other high priority species and habitats of the south west coastal fringe e.g. hornet robberfly, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, and chamomile.  Grazing stock used to restore and maintain suitable heath and cliff habitat is vital for the health of our coastal biodiversity.  Of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species found in these habitats, over 70% require moderate or heavy grazing pressure, with the vast majority of the other species requiring light grazing to maintain their favoured environment. Read the report here. Management for choughs and coastal biodiversity 

Highland cattle help provide suitable habitat for choughs and lots of other species too. Image by Tony Blunden

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary image by Neil Hulme

Pony post

a blog post about ponies this time.  Don't these fellas look wonderful!  They are out on the cliffs at Logan Rock, Porthcurno area helping to keep the cliff vegetation in check.  They are Dartmoor ponies.  Chough often use this area too so keep a look out for them.  Photos by kind permission of Paul Gillard

Ponies at Treen