Due to late nesting of Chough this year, the climbing closed period at the Chasms has been extended until 14 July 2014.
The closed period for climbing for the area west of the Sugar Loaf normally runs until 30 June, the Sugar Loaf and the Anvil being subject to a later closure until 31 July due to different nesting periods.
Ornithologists recently visited the Chasms site to check nesting activity and noted that the Chough were very busy around the Chasms cliffs, suggesting that they were still in the midst of their breeding season and fledging has been delayed. Consequently, the indications are that the young birds will not be big enough to fly until the end of June, if not early July.
Chough and their nests are protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Act 1990. As a consequence, the attention of climbers and outdoor activity providers is drawn to the provisions of the Act which make it an offence if any person intentionally or recklessly:
(a) disturbs any wild bird included in Schedule 1 while it is building a nest or is in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young; or
(b) disturbs any nest or egg of such a bird; or
(c) disturbs dependent young of such a bird
Manx National Heritage has a responsibility to safeguard Chough nesting on MNH land, especially during the nesting season. The Chasms and Sugar Loaf are popular sites for outdoor activities, including climbing, and the closure period is timed to ensure that visitors are able to enjoy the area without inadvertently disturbing the birds. Every effort is made to minimise the inconvenience caused to people by the restrictions while ensuring that these charismatic birds have the best chance to breed successfully.
The Chough, or Caaig in Manx, are members of the crow family and are relatively rare in the British Isles. However, the Isle of Man is one of the few strongholds for the species, and there are thought to be more than 100 breeding pairs resident here. Slightly smaller than a Rook, the Chough has bright red legs and feet and a long red, slightly curved beak which is perfect for teasing out insect grubs from the soil. They are cliff dwelling birds found mostly on the south and western coast of the Island. The Isle of Man is has lots of suitable habitat for them: rocky coastline for nesting, pasture fields coming down to the coast and plenty of rotting seaweed along beach strandlines where they can find insect larvae in winter.
Manx National Heritage staff are keeping a close eye on the nesting situation – should any further extension of the closure be required, notices will be updated.
For further information, please contact;
Shaun Murphy, Properties Manager – Lands