We wish to start with a congratulations to Dave Boyle on Skomer who, with the addition of his self-found Desert Wheatear yesterday, is now winning the Autumn Birdrace. Dave was also victorious last year with a Bobolink and Red-flanked Bluetail, both firsts for Skomer, taking him to an easy victory. This year is much closer but with only a couple of weeks left we need a bird or two. Sadly for us there is very little around and nothing different. The highlight of today was a photogenic Chough.
A record eight pairs of Chough nested on Bardsey this year. Sadly breeding productivity was bad for a third successive year. We need a way to increase productivity. One option would be to introduce a colony of Lesser Kestrels. In Northern Spain Choughs preferentially nest near Lesser K colonies as the diminutive falcons are better at detecting predators and are more vigorous in their defence of an area. Blanco and Tella found that only 16% of nests failed when near Kestrels, compared with a 65% failure when no Lesser Ks were present. The Chough has appeared on the stamps of several countries, although why it appeared on one from the Gambia, where the species does not occur, is unclear. (c) Richard Brown