In the middle of September, Head Researcher Ben Metzger and Assistant Researcher Antonio Vilches conducted some epic abseiling at Ta Cenc cliffs, in Gozo. It is the home of the biggest Maltese Cory’s Shearwater colony. With an height of more than 100 metres, Ta Cenc Cliffs represent one of the most elevated places on the island. Some nests, which are close by the upper part of the cliffs have been explored and nesting birds have been caught and monitored during the first year of the study. However, the challenge of discovering nests in the lower part pushed the researchers to brave the heights.
Going down on ropes, they managed to reach a “plateau” of greenery located 60 metres below the top of the cliff. Once they got there, they started to explore the deep inaccessible caves and crevices. Hidden in the vegetation were the nest of the Cory’s Shearwaters and the researchers discovered several Cory’s chicks. During this time of the year they were emerging from the nests in order to train the wing muscles.
Unfortunately, some places were inaccessible and the researchers managed to handle and ring only twenty chicks. Apart from this, the place looked extremely promising for future studies and its discovery is a remarkably important landmark for further actions. This day will be remembered as crucial discovery for the community of birders in Malta.