Have you heard the charismatic call of curious Carswell the curlew yet?

Sunday 25th May was a very exciting day with six curlew chicks hatching! Carswell (YJ) and his brooder mate Circe (XY) had hatched out overnight and were discovered by staff at 5am. Carswell was one of our smallest chicks; named by staff at RAF Waddington, where the clutch of eggs he came from were found, hatched weighing only 52.1g! Despite his small size, his quirky behaviour was immediately noticed.

Carswell was always more curious and excitable than the other chicks which made him a pleasure to work with.

From day one when novel objects were placed in his enclosure or if any changes were made, he always found it curious and exciting, whereas other curlews either ignored things or were unsure.

When new food was placed in his brooder he would react as he would for any possible exciting things by spreading his tiny wings and letting out a little screaming call whilst deciding if the situation was actually exciting, or if it was in fact, a bit scary.

Despite his more unusual approach to life, as a chick Carswell developed into a fantastic curlew with all the behaviours needed for success post release. During the rearing phase, Carswell, being a confident curlew worked out situations like new piles of foliage, cut within the enclosure, were exciting places to stand and provided tasty invertebrate snacks, whereas humans were potentially dangerous and should be avoided.

Carswell was released at Ken Hill on the 27th July and very quickly decided that Ken Hill was a very nice place to stay and live. Being very food motivated obviously his stomach won over the desire to explore and has stayed in the invertebrate rich fields at Ken Hill with some overnight visits to the beach the other side of the sea wall. Carswell has teamed up with Chetney (XX) since being released which is interesting as they had lived together for significantly less time than all the other birds in their release cohort. Although a quieter bird, Chetney is perhaps more alike to Carswell than any of the other birds reared this year as he was a surprisingly calm chick around novel objects for a curlew. The pair were then joined by Custard (XP) who had previously been exploring Ken Hill and the nearby beach by herself.

Since the beginning of September Carswell has widened the area he feeds in and now spends the majority of his time on the coast between Heacham and Snettisham with his friends Chetney and Custard.

However, since the 2nd October Chetney seems to be considering leaving their little group and is only spending a couple of hours with the other two early in the mornings at Heacham and then flies off to Hunstanton for the rest of the day.

What will Carswell do next? Will he stay at Snettisham, join Chetney in Hunstanton, or move west along the coast towards others released curlews like Cosmos (YH) and Cleopatra (XA)? You can check the movements of all our tagged curlews on the ‘Meet the Curlews’ page.

Please report any sightings of our yellow flagged curlews and any unique letter combinations that you see.