Since 2008 an area in the Preselis has been visited annually to count wheatear pairs and find nests and ring any accessible chicks. Normally this takes place between the 18th and 30th May after which most broods have fledged. A visit on 26th May found them to be much later this year with several nests containing eggs and no sign of adults carrying food. The follow up visit on 9th June also showed no sign of adults with food though some were still visiting nest holes. The extreme weather the previous day was undoubtedly to blame, as this photo illustrates;
The above brood of five died during the gales and heavy rain on Friday. Presumably the female struggled to feed herself leaving them longer than usual and they succumbed to hyperthermia. It was clear that many females still had active clutches of eggs, so another visit in a couple of weeks may bring more positive news, but at the moment, the 35 or so pairs that are in the study plot have yet to fledge a single youngster.
Paul and Paddy