Many of the breeding pairs were seen collecting wool on the fields and flying in the direction of Ronez Quarry. The younger choughs were also enjoying all the wool floating along the fields; they were often seen rolling around on the grass with it. With all the extra time the choughs were spending in the fields collecting wool and with Easter around the corner, the team had some Easter related enrichment put out in the fields adjacent to the aviary. A fun new part of the Island for the choughs to explore. The wind over the coast did make it more interesting for them to approach; but even the sheep were curious about the new objects.
So far, it seemed that the choughs were already behind in their nest building compared with last year’s breeding season. It was also interesting to see that the captive choughs at Paradise Park already had chicks hatching! The Jersey team continued to be hopeful that with all this wool collecting observed, there would be definite signs of egg-laying for the Sorel choughs soon!
The second half of April saw plenty of exciting behaviour at Sorel. A few of the known breeding males in the flock were seen feeding and displaying at (is that to?) their females; notably: Dusty, Dingle and Percy. Many persistent displays from the males were going on before and during the feeds but so far, the majority of the females had shown no real interest. However, as April drew to an end, it was clear to see that the breeding season was well on the way. Around mid-April we had started observing females begging from their males for food. We all know what that means; the incubation period has begun, and breeding males need to make sure they’re feeding their females on the nest! To our knowledge, the first pairs to start incubating this year were: Dusty & Chickay, Kevin & Wally and Percy & Icho. We know this because the males provide all the food to the female on the nest and these males were showing up to the supplementary feeds without their partners several times each day. The remaining potential breeding pairs in the flock, particularly Bo & Flieur, Trevor & Noirmont and Lee & Cauvette were not long behind them.
News from around Jersey
It seems that one pair (Danny & Jaune) who could potentially be our second ‘wild breeding pair’, had been using Simon Sands in St Ouen’s Bay as a safe roosting area and but have moved on from St Ouen’s and settled in a little further inland in St Peter. The pair have found another building with a nice overhang to nest in this year. We currently have some uncertainty over whether this is their active nest at this time. However, the team are hoping that this year is their year! Our other truly wild breeding pair is Minty & Rey. Last year, Minty & Rey unfortunately lost their chicks before fledging and we think that this may have been why they had not rebuilt their nest in their usual spot in Plémont. They were still being seen at Plémont this month; however, we’ve had many sightings of them in the Grosnez area too and even some evidence of them nesting in a stables! Their nest site was discovered but unfortunately the owners had already persuaded the choughs to nest elsewhere and the pair were seen using their usual nesting spot in Plémont again so we are hopeful that they will have better luck with their offspring this year.