Saturday, 12 May 2012

Record year for Chough-upping in Cornwall!

Yesterday I had my annual trip down to the RSPB's Chough team in Cornwall to colour-ring the current year's crop of Chough chicks. So far we have managed to ring every single youngster known to have fledged in Cornwall since a pair returned to breed on the Lizard Peninsula over 10 years ago. The RSPB's annual monitoring of this population of known individuals is a fascinating study of the processes involved in a natural re-colonisation of a species following local extinction.

This year a record 16 chicks were colour-ringed at 4 nests. These comprised 6 males, 6 females and 4 that were too small to sex.

The original Lizard pair are still going but their's was the latest nest of the four ringed. At 11 days old the chicks were just big enough to colour-ring safely but were not big enough to determine their sex.

A new and challenging fifth site has yet to be accessed, as the female is still incubating, but this may prove to be the one that spoils our unbroken record!

Many thanks as usual to Claire Mucklow and Cat Leemar of RSPB South West and all the Cornish Chough volunteers for their assistance.

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