Choughs and other visitors

A pair of choughs were resident on our property, during the breeding season, for some time before we came here. They nested on a narrow ledge in an old corrugated iron barn which was largely destroyed in the gales of 2014. When we rebuilt the barn we were particularly keen to encourage them to continue nesting here. We cut an opening in the eastern gable, close to where they had nested before, and installed a nest box. To our great delight, two weeks later the pair turned up, found the new nest site and raised a brood of three chicks. They have continued to do so every year since then and always three chicks.

This is the parent with their three offspring on one of their first flights – it is the image I have used for my logo on this site and it illustrates what dynamic flyers they are. Their aerobatics have been compared to black handkerchieves tumbling through the air.
The parents spend a lot of time perched on our electricity pole, honing their beaks and keeping an eye on their breeding ground.
Gathering nesting materials just outside our front door.
This is one of last year’s chicks on an early flight. Note that the beak is quite orange – it won’t develop the red colour until the autumn.
This is one of the parents flying through the garden a few days ago.

The choughs are very special to us and they awakened an interest in bird watching. We get all sorts of visitors in the garden. Here are two examples – there will be more in future weeks.

We don’t often see the bullfinch – maybe we are too diligent at removing thistles. Here he is collecting the seeds on the wing.
And looking very pleased with his harvest.
Another rare visitor, for us, is the lesser redpoll. This one was gorging itself on seeds from a verbena bonariensis outside my study window.

These are all added to the birds & animals section in the portfolio

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