Bird breeding season a success

BIRD experts have hailed one of the best bird breeding seasons on record, despite many once familiar species struggling to cope with changes to the climate and countryside.

BIRD experts have hailed one of the best bird breeding seasons on record, despite many once familiar species struggling to cope with changes to the climate and countryside.

Highlights included a record 102 species breeding at its Minsmere nature reserve and a good season for terns. Low points included the failure of several bittern nests due to flooding and limited breeding success for avocets.

Ian Barthorpe, RSPB spokesman, said: “The wet spring weather caused problems for some species but, despite that, this was one of the best breeding seasons on record.

“Many scarce species have clearly benefited from the RSPB's management work. At the same time, many once familiar species of bird are struggling to cope with changes in the wider countryside and the effects of climate change. The plight of turtle doves and spotted flycatchers is of particular concern.”


You may also want to watch:


One pair of arctic terns attempted to nest at Minsmere for the first time and a pair of Sandwich terns was the first for several years. Both species nested among the common tern colony, which increased to 86 pairs.

On the nearby beach, 41 pairs of little terns reared at least 33 young. This was the most successful season for several years for the UK's second rarest breeding seabird. There were also 43 pairs of common terns at RSPB's Havergate Island reserve, near Orford.

Most Read

The Minsmere “scrape” - an area of shallow water - also attracted a record 758 pairs of black-headed gulls, although the recently arrived Mediterranean gulls declined to two pairs.

At Havergate Island, 19 pairs of common gulls bred and three pairs of great black-backed gulls. Lesser black-backed and herring gulls at this nature reserve increased substantially, to 1,185 and 501 pairs respectively.

There was a slight increase in nesting avocets at Minsmere, to 130 pairs, but only four young fledged successfully following heavy spring rainfall.

Only 28 pairs of avocets nested at Havergate Island, where numbers of oystercatchers fell to 41 pairs. A single black-tailed godwit held territory at Minsmere but failed to attract a mate.

The heavy spring rainfall had a detrimental effect on several reedbed species. Despite an increase to eleven booming male bitterns at Minsmere, there were only seven nesting attempts. Elsewhere, there were three males and two nests at North Warren, Aldeburgh, and three nests at Dingle Marshes, Dunwich.

One of the most significant successes was an increase to three pairs of stone-curlews at Minsmere - the highest total since these rare nocturnal birds re-colonised the reserve in 2003. They fledged six young.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter