We’ve had some reports of climbers encountering bird nests with eggs and even hatchlings at some of our crags recently. Kindly avoid these routes and areas to give the eggs time to hatch and the birds time to develop to a less sensitive age.
Here are the reports currently in hand:
- “Bird’s nest on route 2 (Sunset Boulevard) on Monolith Buttress spotted this morning. Only saw the baby birds…climbed down immediately” (Martin Vieira 09/06/20).
- “Hey guys, just a quick heads up. Came across a bird’s nest at Garbage Wall (Blind Cave actually!). The nest is located in the mid-section of Little Red Riding Hood. Came down as soon as I realised it was there. Hopefully haven’t scared away the mum but saw a similar post recently so thinking we’d do well to avoid that area for the time being. Peace out!” (Alex Teoli 07/06/20).
- “Yesterday at Chapel Buttress we encountered two nests, one of some importance. Our resident Birdlife expert Martin tells us that the young need only around 10 days to fledge so let’s avoid climbing at Chapel Buttress until at least 15th June, to allow the fledglings to leave their nests. ” (Andrew Warrington 05/06/2020).
- “Bird’s nest on the route Genghis Can’t (6b) at Learning to Fly Cave in Ghar Lapsi. The nest is in an obvious jug just before the crux sequence – the hold can be avoided, but in the interest of not bothering the birds it’s better to avoid the route all together for a couple of weeks until the chicks fledge.” (Stephen Farrugia 04/06/2020)
- UPDATE: Another nest with babies in Toil and Bubble (6a+) in The Cauldron & Upstream Boulder sector, Wied Il-Mielaħ. Please avoid this route together with neighbouring Re-decorate Your Face (5c+) which is very close as well. (Pavel Hosnedl 10/06/2020)
One highly protected bird in Malta is the national bird, the “Merill” or Blue Rock Thrush. Here are some pics provided to us by LIFE Arcipelago Garnija Project and Martin Austad of Birdlife Malta.
On a separate but related note I’ve noticed that over the years pigeons seem to have taken up residence at a number of crags, particularly along Victoria Lines i.e. Crazy Horse area, Cikka Cave,
Chapel Buttress, Smoothies Cave at Wied Babu etc. These are quite a nuisance due to the guano they generate which is pretty off-putting to say the least. If you’ve done “Hardman’s First” on the left side of Chapel Buttress you’ll know exactly what I mean!
Such nesting restrictions do not apply in the case of pigeons , but rather to protected species only.