Ronez Quarry chough activity update
As Ronez Quarry provides perfect nesting sites for the choughs, we have a great understanding with the owners in regard to ‘our’ choughs. Our chough team may be somewhat lacking this year, but the employees of the quarry are always happy to help give insights into the choughs’ activities within the quarry. Although around the aviary we hadn’t seen much of any nest material gathering, a sign of spring in previous years; it became apparent that the pairs had started separating from the flock and finding their own places to roost and nest. The quarry had plenty of activity at the usual nest site of pairs: Dusty & Chickay and Trevor & Noirmont, but not much for any of the other breeding pairs so far.
There was a lot of activity in three new areas in the quarry that haven’t been used in previous years; it will be interesting to find out who is using these new areas for nesting. The chough team will spend time at the quarry to try and identify whose nests are where, as when it comes to ringing the chicks in the nests, they will know who the chicks belong to once they arrive at the aviary.
The sight of a breeding pair (Percy & Icho) carrying nesting material in flight towards the quarry was good news. But it wasn’t just any nesting material; they were carrying wool! Wool is generally the last material collected for nest building, for a warm and comfortable interior. This suggests that the choughs in question, Percy, and his mate Icho, may be close to finishing their nest building soon! But for now, we wait patiently to notice their behaviour changes. Once they’ve finished building their nests the males turn their attention to impressing their females with attentive courtship and displays. Choughs have several courtships displays. One, mirrored flight, is where the female and male will follow each other’s exact flight patterns. Others include courtship displaying and feeding. Displaying is one of the few ways male choughs ‘flirt’ with their female; they do this by spreading their wings out and shaking. And if those aren’t enough to convince the female he’s good enough to raise her chicks; he’ll also feed her!
A wandering chough
Almost un-noticed, Portelet has been off to Guernsey again. This time she seemingly went alone, was welcomed on our sister Isle but flew back home again. She didn’t miss a supplementary feed! Portelet does show us that inter-island travel is fairly straight forward, and we still look forward to colonisation.
We’ve been approved!
The planning permission for the Sorel aviary was accepted and the aviary will see another five years. Now that the planning permission has been accepted; essential aviary maintenance can commence. The first priority is to fix the holes in the aviary’s netting, these holes have occurred through the wild weather the aviary is always being battered by. The holes could cause a dilemma in the next essential catch-up if not fixed as a chough could escape from the aviary, they’re that big. The clock is ticking for this work to be complete with the chough pairs becoming more attentive. With a little help from the Government of Jersey’s Environment Team, we could get our equipment up to the aviary to start fixing those dreaded netting holes. Once the holes are fixed, we are hoping to move our attention to fitting brand new hatches.