The Chough population in Wales has been gaining strength in recent years and now represents about 75% of the total number in the UK. Their main stronghold is along the coast of Pembrokeshire but they have been steadily spreading, returning to the Gower Peninsula in 1990 for the first time in over a century. Over the last few weeks I have been fortunate to encounter this rarest species of the Crow family on an almost weekly basis, but have held back the photographs as I am concious that we are well into the breeding season and I don’t want to give away too many details concerning their locations.
The above photos were taken along the Ceredigion coastal path where I was amazed to see a flock of ten Chough, several of which were collecting discarded sheep’s wool. So intent were they to carry as much as possible that they not only stuffed their beaks to overflowing but also grabbed great clumps with each foot. By the end of it I was beginning to wonder if they would actually be able to take off and if they did whether or not they would even be able to see where they were going. They seemed to manage in the end though.
The pair above were much closer to home on Gower. They were incredibly tame and carried on feeding even when a local dog walker passed right by them. Much like Red Kites the Chough is a great example of how some excellent conservation work can have a massive impact on the success of our wildlife. Long may they continue to flourish as our countryside is better for their presence.