Chicks are progressing well; sometimes the prey items have still left them hungry and then along comes another fat galah or similar to fill them up. Quill feathers are showing and even a little bit of tail.
They are very active, with lots of wing flapping now and often come close to the ledge. I wouldn’t fret too much about that. We’ve only had one chick go over the ledge in nine years and that was a chick asleep very close to the ledge during a bad storm and he pretty much fell or was blown out (and never recovered) about five days prior to fledging. They seem to have a good instinct about these things and there’s little chance of rock climbers here!
Juvenile starlings are starting to appear on the menu – although small, they are very plentiful – and a pest, so good to see. They are less brighly coloured than the adults, quite dull in comparison, often a dull brown, with the throat appearing lighter in colour.
Not sure about the gender yet – actually quite tricky. When banders are determining sex, they take measurements to be sure, but we can’t really do that. That’s because although females are larger when adult, males can develop more quickly. Within a week though the females should be looking a bit bigger. And when they all sit lined up on the ledge, it can be helpful.
I estimate that first flight could be any time from 11th November. Last year the male went off quickly (and strongly), followed by one of the females, with the sister waiting another couple of days. All had exceptionally good first flights, so let’s hope that is the case this year, too.
I have to go to a bushire management meeting this afternoon and to Wellington for a habitat management workshop tomorrow, but will look in on Saturday or Sunday. Happy chick spotting.