Coastal Birds of Cornwall

Check out this fantastic picture of a chough and a kestrel taken recently in the far west of Kernow.  The photo was taken by James Sellen on his recently holiday to the area.

Photo by James Sellen

Hoping for a Happy (New) Year!

A new year has arrived and a new season is ahead of us.  We are very excited at the prospect of Chough Watch beginning in just a few months and the thought of seeing new chough chicks soaring the Cornish skies.

Due to the small number of birds that reside in Cornwall and the high level of threat to them from egg collectors (a recent egg collectors find included chough eggs), we at the Cornwall Chough Project will carry out our annual nest protection scheme to ensure the birds have as much complete breeding success as we can help them with.

What the choughs could do with are more folks to give them a bigger helping hand.

On both the Lizard and West Cornwall, Chough Watch requires a commitment of whatever time you can give us to sit out on the cliffs keeping an eye on them.  The choughs are wonderful to watch and the more time you spend watching them, the more you will get to know their personalities and behaviours which at times can be fascinating and even amusing!  Not only that but you get to witness a wealth of wildlife that the Cornish coast has to offer including sharks, dolphins, gannets fishing and peregrines hunting.

If you enjoy chatting with people, on the Lizard at Southerly Point, we have a public “watch point” which gives visitors to the area a chance to have the choughs pointed out to them.  The legendary Southerly Point pair fly to and from their nest at regular intervals so this is an easy and enjoyable job to do.  Plus, it is right next to the cafe!

It is a real joy to be there when the chough young fledge and fly for the first time, moving from cliff to cliff following their parents and when they start on the aerobatics! Wow! You can only feel a huge sense of pride and achivement.

If this sounds like something you would like to get involved in, then please do get in touch and we will provide you with more information.  Email cornishchoughs@rspb.org.uk

The Chough Club

The Landewednack & St Just Primary Chough Clubs have been enjoying various events so far this term.  Our September sessions saw us learning about migration.  As we waved goodbye to the swallows, we also waved hello and gave a warm welcome to Neil Swan our new education assistant. It is fantastic to have another enthusiastic volunteer on the education team which now consists of Cat, Danielle, Gill and Neil.

Above is a photograph of Neil dissecting owl pellets with St Just Chough Club at our annual sleepover event where we explored Botallack’s nightlife with various activities such as badger watching, bat detecting and moth trapping. We had 22 moths in our trap in the morning, one of which was a fantastic black rustic. We also learnt about owls, how they catch prey and what they eat. Jasmine found part of a bird skeleton in the pellet she was dissecting which was really exciting.  Did you know that tawny owl ears are not symmetrical which is what helps them locate prey, they often rely more on sound than sight while hunting?

The chough club is expanding across West Penwith, and we hope to have it running at another 4 schools by the new year. Cat is currently doing a series of assemblies at local schools to share the chough story with local children and encourage them to join the chough club.  As the chough club expands we are in need of more help. It is an extremely rewarding experience and you’d be surprised how much your learn. If you are interested in volunteering on the education team, please do get in touch: cat.leemarr@rspb.org.uk