After a run of three unsuccessful years, a pair of breeding stone-curlew have managed to fledge a chick on the South Downs this summer. Despite failing at their first breeding attempt to an unknown cause, they re-nested and managed to successfully fledge their chick at the end of August.
As was described in a previous blog post here, stone-curlews are attracted to large open arable fields which can put them at risk from agricultural operations. Both nesting attempts were closely monitored and required interventions, and special thanks goes out to those farmers, landowners and gamekeepers whose help and cooperation led to their success.
Stone-curlews mottled colouring gives them good camouflage against the chalky soils of the South Downs
The chick was ringed with its own unique colour combination, so we hope to see it again on the Downs in the future. In fact a set of colour rings on one of the adult birds tells us that this too came from the same locality in 2011, and proof that they are returning to breed.
Sitting quietly whilst the rings are attached to its legs
Historically, the South Downs stone-curlew population numbered some 80 pairs, and this success gives some hope for the future. If you have seen stone-curlews on your land, or would like to discuss how to provide habitat for them, please contact us here.