Finally we have seen some rain! 17mm fell the day before last, more than the whole of May combined. It was good, slow, steady rain that allowed the ground to absorb it. With more forecast over the coming week (possible thunderstorms this evening) and with temperatures rising a bit the prospects for some grass growth are looking more positive.
I had feared the drought would have a negative impact on our breeding chough. They use their down curved bill to extract invertebrates from the soil so the baked hard fields would have made life tough for them.
The jury is still out on this season but so far the signs are looking good. The first site to fledge, or rather 'semi fledge', as they tend to spend several days acclimatising to life outside the cave in small bursts before diving back in to their sanctuaries, showed us glimpses of 2 young, possibly 3. Then today, the first site to properly leave the nest behind and take up refuge in nearby boulders fledged an impressive 4 young! Also today, a third site saw one brave youngster make the leap while more birds were clearly audible from within the cave.
The other 4 active sites are all still feeding young in their nest sites so we will keep a close eye on those this week and will hopefully be able to provide you with a more complete picture of the 2020 season very soon
This photos is from 2019 but it won't be long before we see scenes like this all over the island as the young birds incessantly beg to the adults (the young birds is on the right in this photo, note the pale orange bill and legs)
Adult chough reduce the feeding rate towards the end, probably in an attempt to encourage the young out of the nests. You can tell when fledging is close as the adults, rather than going straight in to deliver a feed, spend time outside the cave calling to the young inside.
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