Bee-eater chicks fledge on the Isle of Wight

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  • ©National Trust/Andy Butler

    Two of the fledged juvenile bee-eaters on the Wydcome Estate, Isle of Wight

  • ©Andy Butler

    Adult bee-eater catches a dragonfly on the Wydcombe Estate, Isle of Wight

Latest update 21.08.2014 10:58

Bird watchers at the Wydcombe Estate on the Isle of Wight have had their patience rewarded as four bee-eater chicks have fledged from a nest discovered in July 2014. It’s the first time the birds have bred successfully in the UK for 12 years.

Three of the chicks have already fledged and the fourth has tried out its wings. If the hotly-anticipated arrivals survive it will be the most successful bee-eater breeding in the UK on record. Previously a pair of bee-eaters produced two chicks in County Durham in 2002.

Efforts to protect the birds are rewarded

‘We’re delighted to see the juveniles are out and progressing well,’ enthused our ranger Ian Ridett, who has been at the forefront of the operation to protect the birds since their discovery, which he described as his best find.

‘We’ve worked day and night with a team of over 60 volunteers and staff from the National Trust, RSPB and Isle of Wight Ornithological Group to monitor the site and provide a supervised viewing area for visitors’ said Ian.

People flock to view the bee-eaters

Around 3000 people from around the UK have come to catch a glimpse of the birds and have had views of the adults catching bees and dragonflies. ‘The question that everyone is asking is, “will they return next year?” however, it all depends on the weather and a degree of chance’ explained Ian.

Soft ground, rolling landscape and a stream proved ideal conditions for the bee-eater adults to create their nest burrow in the hills of the Wydcombe Estate, on the south of the island. ‘The Isle of Wight has some great habitats and is in pole position for events like this to re-occur’ said Ian.

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