Monday, May 23, 2011

It's exactly a month since we discovered the Ringed Plover nest near Solfach. We covered the nest with a chicken wire cap to prevent the sheep from trampling the three eggs and to keep marauding gulls and crows out of reach of the nest. We left a gap at the bottom just large enough for the incubating adults to pass in and out of but hopefully too small for most predators. This technique proved very successful last year with two pairs fledging seven young from seven eggs. Today we checked the nest at 0830 and there were still three eggs, but when we checked at 1545 the three eggs were missing...

The Ringed Plover nest as we first found it, subtly decorated with scraps of shell. (c) Giselle Eagle

The view looking down through the protective chicken wire mesh this afternoon. Not a scrap of Ringed Plover egg remains. Instead three tiny chicks lay motionless. The adults remove hatched shell to avoid advertising the presence of young. (c) Giselle Eagle

The chicks are amazingly well camouflaged. It was best to find them today, still in the nest, as tomorrow the precocious young will have scurried away into the surrounding pebbles where they would be exceedingly difficult to locate. (c) Richard Brown

The three young were quickly ringed and replaced in the nest where they were immediately joined by both adults. Hopefully ringing these birds will enable us to understand how this little Bardsey population develops. Indeed the female of the pair would appear to be a returning bird from last year and several of last year's young have also revisited the island this spring. (c) Richard Brown 


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