01 January 2011

Chough feeding on saltmarsh at Whiteford.


Barry Stewart said...

Great shot Paul which is very informative. This looks like dune vegetation rather than saltmarsh, but this is an area where drifts of sand overly the saltmarsh creating an interesting mosaic. I guess none of the birds were colour-ringed?

Adrienne Stratford sent me the following which may be of interest: 'I don't know if you've heard about the chough DNA project being undertaken in Aberdeen, by Jane Reid and others? Very interesting preliminary results suggest that the current Cornish chough population is much closer genetically to the S. Irish population than to North Wales, Isle of Man, Scottish, Spanish or French populations. However, what they haven't had are any samples from South Wales - Pembs, Gower or Ogmore. So it would be great if you could look out for and contribute any moulted chough feathers or small samples from any dead birds. It would be very interesting to find out their genetic allegiances. If you can get any, please send them to:
Jane Reid, School of Biological Sciences, Zoology Building, University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ.
(samples in separate packets, labelled with grid ref, date collected + bird's ID if ringed).'

Sid said...

Barry. No rings on the birds. They were feeding in the low dunes around the pools i mention in the previous post. There was obviously some form of food they were pecking in the sand for, maybe they had to feed here in the freeze and found something to their liking. They were using the pools to wash their feathers and bills too. Later on they were on the marsh beyond the avenue of large pines, going down into the Juncus!

Barry Stewart said...

Cheers Paul - all very interesting observations. I guess in hard times, different niches are exploited. I guess there's probably a lot of food tucked away in the bases of the Juncus clumps and a Chough's bill is probbaly well adapted to exploit it.