Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Chough-ed to bits!

Cornwall’s famous population of choughs have had a hugely successful year with 17 chough chicks now fledged and out on the wing experiencing the drama and beauty of the Cornish coast.

Claire Mucklow from the RSPB in Cornwall says ‘The choughs are doing so well. Year on year they have to cope with all that nature throws at them and not all survive. But they are feisty birds and are proving that overall they have the tenacity needed to continue re-colonising Cornwall.”

“Including those fledged youngsters there are at least 39 choughs in Kernow, which is fantastic considering at the turn of the millennium there were none.”

The choughs are watched over by a dedicated team of RSPB staff and volunteers. Each year the young are colour ringed and this helps conservationists follow their population.

And this year, we will know how many choughs there are in the whole of the UK.

Chough experts from Wales, the Western Isles in Scotland as well as the Isle of Man are scouring the cliffs and pastures, hills and mountains to assess how this member of the crow family is faring.

The Cornish, North Devon and Somerset coasts have already been surveyed by RSPB and National Trust staff, volunteers and local ornithologists with one lucky surveyor turning up a chough which originated from Isle Ouessant in Brittany. The last UK survey of choughs was in 2002 when there were 435 pairs found (of which 128 pairs were in the Isle of Man and one pair in Cornwall).

June is the best time to see choughs because family groups are still together and if you want to see proper Cornish choughs there is no better place than The National Trust’s Wildlife Watchpoint at Lizard Point on Britain’s most southerly tip. The Wildlife Watchpoint is open daily from 10am -4pm, volunteers are on hand to give you up to date information on the choughs and other wildlife around Lizard Point, as well as provide great views through their binoculars and telescope.

Catherine Lee from National Trust said: ‘Over the next few weeks we will be watching the young birds chasing after their parents incessantly begging for food and getting in some flying practice, these are some of the most magical moments for any observer. Choughs are a very charming bird they are so engaging to see and delight people from all over the world when they visit the watch point. It’s fantastic to see the population continue to grow here; choughs are so special to Cornwall’.

4th July 2014