June 2008

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | UK Bird News | Bird News for United Kingdom 2008 |  June 2008

Black-winged stilt photographed by Glen Fergus.Click image for licence details

Black-winged stilt photographed by Glen Fergus.Click image for licence details

Spectacular stilts step out

For the first time in over 20 years and only the fifth time in British history, black-winged stilt chicks have successfully hatched in the UK.
Stilts are one of Britain’s rarest breeding birds and the last time we witnessed such an event was in 1987 when two chicks were successfully raised in Norfolk.
Tim Melling from the RSPB in Northern England, says: 'Black-winged stilts have extraordinarily long, spindly pink legs and even at one-day old they are abnormally long. The chicks are a buff colour with fluffy feathers and speckles on their back and head. They have really long, fine beaks like a needle.'
An adult pair was first spotted on their nest near Marbury Country Park, Cheshire, a month ago. RSPB staff and volunteers have been monitoring their progress and waiting with bated breath to see if they laid any eggs.
Mild temperatures meant experts were quietly hopeful that the birds would be successful this time, and celebrations began last night when an RSPB surveillance team spotted three hatched eggs and at least one chick.

The RSPB has been showing thousands of wildlife lovers the uncommon spectacle of the nesting adults through its Aren’t birds brilliant! (ABB) scheme. There is a viewing point to ensure best possible sightings and it is hoped that the chicks will encourage even more people to come and marvel at these fascinating, quirky birds.

Richard Bashford, the RSPB's Aren’t birds brilliant! Project Manager, says: 'It has been a nerve-wracking few days waiting for the eggs to hatch. It's been such a long time since they were successful and we’ve all been hopeful with the mild weather, but when we heard there were three chicks we were overjoyed.
'Now we are looking forward to showing as many people as possible the chicks – their unfeasibly long legs make them really interesting birds and children and adults alike love to learn that what appear to their knees are actually their ankles!
'Watching the chicks learn how to use them will no doubt be very entertaining, its amazing how they manage it.'
The stilts are just one of many ABB schemes happening across the UK this year. The 2008 season promises to be the biggest yet, with more than 60 projects showing people birds like peregrine falcons, white-tailed eagles, puffins, choughs, great crested grebes and roosting starlings.

Red kites blazing a trail through Derwent Valley

Red kites blazing a trail through Derwent Valley

The north east's newest leisure trail for walkers - and Gateshead's latest red kite tourist attraction –officially opened this week.
The Red Kite Trail, a specially-waymarked trail through the scenic Derwent Valley near Gateshead in North East England, was officially opened by Councillor Mick Henry, Leader of Gateshead Council. He waved off a group of 12 walkers – all members of the aptly-named Red Kite Ramblers Walking Group - who aim to be the first to tackle the route.
The Trail describes a scenic 18 km circular route through the beautiful Derwent valley, amongst landscapes that host a wide variety of wildlife and heritage, but which also almost guarantees a sight of the valley's signature species, the red kite. (photo TH Kraft)



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Northern Kites, the project that has returned red kites to the northeast, is managed by the RSPB and Natural England, working in partnership with Gateshead Council, Northumbrian Water, The National Trust and Forestry Commission, with additional funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and SITA Trust.
Councillor Mick Henry says, 'I well remember the day in 2005 when I was invited to release a young kite into the wild for the first time. It was a thrilling experience.
'Now, through the establishment of this fantastic new trail, everyone can come and enjoy that same thrill of watching what must be the northeast's greatest and, thanks to the Trail, most accessible wildlife spectacle.
'It's the perfect complement to a north east of England city break, and we are hoping that many people will come to walk the Trail and realise that red kites and super countryside are yet another part of the rich Tyneside experience.'
The route of the Red Kite Trail route has been planned to give visitors an excellent chance of seeing red kites, and to provide them with up to two days of walking in beautiful countryside, all within easy reach of the centre of Gateshead and Newcastle.
Between 2004 and 2006, 94 young kites were released into the wild in Gateshead's Derwent valley. In 2006, three chicks were reared in two nests – the first to be born in the region for around 200 years. Yet more young kites were born in 2007, and even more are expected in 2008 as a breeding population is now becoming firmly establishing in northeast England.
From 2nd June, 'Kitewatch 2008' will be running everyday on Goodshields Haugh, in the Derwent Walk Country Park, between 11 am and 4 pm, until Sunday 3 August. The Kitewatch can be accessed by following the Kite Trail way-markers from the Derwenthaugh Car Park at Winlaton Mill, as the Trail passes next to the public watch point from where the nesting red kites can be observed.

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | UK Bird News | Bird News for United Kingdom 2008 |  June 2008

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