Monday 20 May 2013

Eurasian Stone Curlew at Weeting, WQ number 96.

Just to mop up the last of the UK breeding waders we needed, Elis and I shot up to the Norfolk Naturalist Trust reserve at Weeting in Norfolk, a reserve that is primarily set up to protect breeding Eurasian Stone Curlews.

Weeting NNT reserve.
We were informed that they were showing well, but of course when we got to the hide one had gone completely out of sight down the hill over the horizon half way down the field, the other was sitting on a nest just at the horizon of the field a very long way out.

The sitting bird's head is just visible in this picture.
With a scope it was possible to make out the head of the sitting bird, with its yellow bill and eye (when it was open).

OK here's a clue!
We decided to give the birds some time to be more active and left to go to Lakenheath RSPB reserve nearby. Needless to say when we left the other bird returned and they had a change over at the nest, both birds being visible and standing up, even the colour rings could be seen apparently! When we returned later there was a second bird standing near the nest site, but before Elis' camera could be swung into action, it was gone, down the hill and our of sight.

We heard today that there is a project being considered to build 5,000 new homes near Thetford in Norfolk, very close to a breeding site of Eurasian Stone Curlews. The conservationists are arguing that birds breed up to 2.5 km from the core site, but the developers claim that there is no evidence to this end has been accepted by a judge. There is a buffer zone set up around breeding Stone Curlews of 1.5km; the conservationists claim this is insufficient.

Waders really are being squeezed from all directions, not just on the far away intertidal mudflats of Asia, but right here in our own back yard in pastoral England.

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