It’ s all go at Curlew Country our Project Officer Amber Bicheno has become headstarting supervisor and has taken up residence in the egg incubation chalet. We welcome two new headstarting trainees, Madeleine Powell and Elspeth Powell (unrelated). Amber, Madeleine and Elspeth will be enabling us to glimpse progress of our eggs and chicks with regular updates and here is our first instalment from Madeleine.
Hi everyone, I am going to introduce myself to all of you. I’m Madeleine, one of the new headstarting trainees at Curlew Country. I will be working with and learning from Amber in the next few months, helping to hopefully incubate, raise and release some very important Curlew chicks. This is to bolster the local population as a stop gap while other threats are addressed longer term. I am delighted to have this opportunity to learn more about Curlew and their conservation, meet the fantastic local people helping these amazing birds and (fingers crossed!) be able to help a bit myself.
I have long been fascinated by Curlew, their haunting calls really stir something inside, that even from a young age made me stop and think about what produced them, spurring me on to first take an interest in birds. I can remember hearing them on the farm we lived on in mid-Wales when I was tiny. When we later moved to Herefordshire, where I really grew-up, I heard Curlew less and less in the county, making me start to think about how species were declining and why?
It wasn’t just Curlew though, since I first toddled to a small Welsh stream to watch the courtship display of palmate newts, I have been fascinated by everything and anything to do with nature and conservation. This led to becoming a dormouse monitor, volunteering for various conservation charities and more recently completing a degree in Animal Conservation in the beautiful Lake District. I will always love the rolling beauty of the Welsh Marches and Wales where I grew up and first got excited about nature. Getting the chance to work here, in one of my favourite places and with one of my favourite species, is truly amazing!
Shropshire is (comparatively) new territory for me, so I plan to spend my free time exploring and looking for lovely local wildlife. As I am still learning here, I would love to know more about what the local community values about Curlews and the ecosystem which they need to thrive in their landscape.
It would be amazing to return to self-sustaining Curlew populations, and it is incredibly exciting to be learning from a team working towards this, and already making so much happen! I am particularly intrigued by animal behaviour and so am looking forward to watching our chicks grow and develop. With Amber, I have started learning about fascinating egg development, incubators and how to measure, candle and repair eggs (got a bit too enthusiastic and had to do major repairs to my poor practice chicken egg!). I am looking forward to more practice and what is coming up next, it should be an invaluable and truly memorable few months in this Curlew hotspot.