Somerset Wildlife Trust

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Avocets breed on Somerset's coast

 23rd Jul 2012

Many of you will have seen the news about Great White Egrets breeding for the first time in the UK at Natural England's Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve on the Somerset Levels. But this is not the only new breeding bird for Somerset, reports the Trust's Living Seas Ambassdor Nigel Phillips.

Avocets nest on Somerset coast

Avocets have been occurring as regular winter visitors at the mouth of the River Parrett between Steart and Burnham since the 1950’s with up to sixty birds present in some years. However this year a single pair of Avocets decided not to migrate back to Europe and to nest in Somerset.

Avocets are very much coastal birds and only feed in saltwater or brackish lagoons of which there is a considerable amount in Natural England's Bridgwater Bay National Nature Reserve and this is where the Avocets nested.

One chick success

Despite the very wet weather the Avocets have produced one chick which is good, as many wading birds have failed to breed successfully this year due to heavy rain. We think the chick hatched on June 22. There is good access to hides overlooking part of the National Nature Reserve at Steart where the Avocets might be seen, but they do range over a very wide area, often far from the hides.

To have a new bird species colonise Somerset’s coast is very good news, when there are so many concerns about pressures from tourism and development on our coastal birds. Let’s hope this is an omen for more good coast things in the future.

The chick and parents

Click the X top-right to enlarge © Nigel Phillips Click the X top-right to enlarge © Nigel Phillips
Click the X top-right to enlarge © Nigel Phillips Click the X top-right to enlarge © Nigel Phillips
Click the X top-right to enlarge © Nigel Phillips Click the X top-right to enlarge © Nigel Phillips

Upcoming marine events

Rock pool ramble

Why not come along to our Beach Clean and Walk on Sunday 16 September 10:30 - 13:00. The event starts with a beach clean organised by the Marine Conservation Society followed by a ramble around the rock pools under Brean Down led by our Living Seas Ambassdor Nigel Phillips.

Survey training day

We are running a training day on surveying techniques and marine species identification at Watchet on the 15th September. Read more about this marine survey

For event detail, more marine news and pictures visit our Living Seas page.