Wet weather bad for rare birds

THIS summer's wet weather proved disastrous for some of the rarest birds in Suffolk, according to new figures from the RSPB published today.But other rarities bred on the coast for the first time - and led experts to hope they can establish themselves in the area.

THIS summer's wet weather proved disastrous for some of the rarest birds in Suffolk, according to new figures from the RSPB published today.

But other rarities bred on the coast for the first time - and led experts to hope they can establish themselves in the area.

Many nests were lost due to chilling of the eggs, while others were actually washed away. Avocets failed to raise a single chick at Minsmere, and no eggs even hatched at Havergate Island near Orfordness.

All along the coastline, redshanks and lapwings fledged few young on the grazing marshes due to flooding.


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However stone-curlews, Mediterranean gulls and marsh harriers had record breeding seasons at RSPB nature reserves on the Suffolk coast.

The rare stone-curlew first returned to nest at RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in 2003 thanks to management work to recreate their heathland habitat.

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This year, for the first time, two pairs successfully raised young at Minsmere. Both pairs reared two broods, producing six fledged chicks.

Mel Kemp, Minsmere's heathland warden, said: “This is a great reward for all our hard work to re-create Sandlings-type heath and acid grassland at Minsmere.

“There are only a handful of pairs of these special birds left on the Suffolk coast, which makes this year's success even more important.

“If they continue to breed successfully, we hope to be arrange viewing facilities for visitors in the future.”

Elsewhere on the heaths, there was an increase to 15 churring nightjars at Minsmere, plus seven at RSPB North Warren and three at RSPB Snape Warren. There were 17 pairs of woodlarks at Minsmere, and 23 at each of North Warren and Snape Warren.

After first returning to nest in Suffolk in 1996, Dartford warblers increased to 24 pairs at Minsmere. In contrast, no tree pipits nested at Minsmere, continuing a local decline of the species.

Mediterranean gulls bred successfully at Minsmere for only the second time. Three pairs raised five young on the Scrape, although there had been counts of more than 20 birds in the spring.

How has the weather affected birds in your garden? Write to: Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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