Spring is in full swing at Living Coasts. Torquay’s coastal zoo is busy with birds building nests, sitting on eggs and caring for chicks.
Living Coasts keeper Jason Keller has been taking photos in his lunch breaks. He took a photo of the first pied avocet chick of the season when it was only a couple of hours old. Just two days later and that first avocet was already exploring its environment at Waders Estuary. There are now three chicks.
Meanwhile, the first macaroni penguin egg has been laid this season – on the sandy beach that is the preserve of the African penguins rather than the pebbles that macaronis usually prefer. Animal staff say they will leave the egg – belonging to Rocky and Babe – on the beach. Operations Manager Clare Rugg: “If it is fertile hopefully it will hatch.”
And over on the pebble beach, macaronis Millie and Ceebee look thoroughly proud as they sit with their first egg. Clare added: “Milly laid last year but the birds were so eager to incubate at the same time that they cracked the egg! This year they are much more sedate and incubation is going well.”
In addition, Inca terns have chicks and tufted puffins have been busy collecting nesting material – in one case, from the middle of the foaming waters created by the Auk Cliff wave machine.
Staff at Living Coasts are hoping for a busy few months. Clare again: “It’s still early days to tell what the season will be like, it has been slow to start but the macaroni penguins are doing more displaying now.”
For more information go to www.livingcoasts.org.uk or ring 01803 202470.Follow