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Rare chicks hatch at Medmerry

Medmerry realignment programme has been completed and the land has been 'surrendered' to the sea
Picture from the Environment Agency ENGSUS00120130511104229

Medmerry realignment programme has been completed and the land has been 'surrendered' to the sea Picture from the Environment Agency ENGSUS00120130511104229

A NATURE reserve at Medmerry has celebrated the arrival of new rare chicks.

A rare mediterrean wader, which has not bred successfully in the UK for nearly 30 years, has hatched its first chicks at the nature reserve.

Two chicks were hatched at Medmerry in the morning on Friday, June 13 and another was hatched at RSPC Cliffe Pools on the north Kent Marshes.

The last successful breeding attempt by black-winged stilts was in Norfolk in 1987. Since last month when the stilt pairs were discovered on the reserves, the RSPB has organised a 24-hour watch on the nests with the help of a rota of volunteers.

“It’s very exciting that the chicks are beginning to hatch,” said RSPB warden Andy Daw.

“We managed to protect the eggs, but there are still challenges ahead because the chicks will become more vulnerable to predators.

The stilts breeding at Medmerry is a tribute to the wetland conditions on the reserve. It is the largest open-coast managed realignment scheme in Europe, and the RSPB’s newest reserve.

It was created between 2011 
and 2013 by the Environment Agency and consists of mudflats, tidal lagoons, saltmarsh, wildlife-friendly farmland and dragonfly-rich ditches.

It is thought that a dry spell in southern Spain has displaced the birds to southern Britain. And it is believed a changing climate may bring these birds more regularly in future.

Black-winged stilts are large black and white waders with long reddish-pink legs, usually found in the Mediterranean. They nest in wetland and feed on insects which they pick from the surface of the water or forage for in shallow mud.

 

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