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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Curlew ups and downs

Since I last blogged on our curlew project we've been battling both the weather and ever-sneaky curlew behaviour to find more nests. Rachel and I even spotted a pair mating, "Aha!" we thought, but despite many hours watching these two they're not giving up the nest location just yet. We're therefore still monitoring just the two nests, after the failure of the first two.

There were three eggs in the morning when I found our fourth nest, and on returning to set up the camera that afternoon, a fourth had been laid - our first full clutch so far. With 28-30 days incubating time we should expect the eggs to hatch around the 14th June - fingers crossed!

A full clutch of four eggs in our fourth nest.
Mixed news from our other remaining monitored nest  - as you may have seen from our facebook page, our first chick hatched on 21st May which was great to see - but unfortunately the other egg failed to hatch from this clutch of only two.

Success! Our first chick shortly after hatching.
For the first few days after hatching the adult birds were very visible alarm calling and chasing off crows in the nest area - a good sign of the continued presence of the chick. However when I visited yesterday there was no sign of the birds - hopefully they have just moved on from the area as the chicks are very mobile very quickly. We will be carrying out follow-up surveys over the coming weeks to pick up these signs of adults with chicks, to try and get a rough idea of chick survival rates, and presence of chicks from nests we've not managed to find.

Kim L.


  1. Great work Kim. In all the many years I have been walking the hills I have never been able to find a curlew's nest. They are one of the loudest birds and yet also one of the most secretive - and this research makes you realise why.

  2. Saw what I think was probably a Curlew (initially thought it was something else) with at least two chicks on Blackamoor last week.