Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Ceredigion Choughs and Cormorants

Last Tuesday Gareth Richardson, Jane and I carried on the quest for Choughs on the Ceredigion coast and another four broods (totalling 10 chicks) were ringed. We also managed to catch two adults including a 14 year old male whose original BTO ring and surviving colour-rings were wearing a bit thin so he was duly equipped with new ones to last him the next 14 years!

We also managed to ring a few broods of Cormorants in passing. I don't ring many Cormorants as the colonies here are on vertical cliffs and great care needs to be taken that larger young don't scramble out of the nest with an associated risk of falling. When I first came to Aberystwyth in 1982 the Cormorant colony at Penderi, south of Aberystwyth, was something in the order of 250 pairs, today a count of 50 pairs would be good. A similar rate of decline has been seen at Bird Rock near Tywyn down from ca. 150 pairs to about 40. These declines are probably related to declining fish stocks but previous ringing recoveries have shown that some young birds travel down to South-East England and France during their first winter where they (frequently?) get shot!

PC Richardson cuffing a Cormorant

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