News archive

July 2018

Sunday, 29 July 2018

August Bird of the Month - Black-winged Stilt

August Bird of the Month - Black-winged Stilt

The black-winged stilt is an elegant wader, slightly smaller than an avocet. It stands very upright and bobs its head when nervous, like a greenshank does. Sexes are similar with white body, long, straight and delicate black bill and glossy black wings. During the breeding season males have variable grey markings on the back of the head. Juveniles are browner with brown on the head, back of the neck and back and they have a thin white trailing edge to the inner rear wing.

In flight, the pointed wings, long white "V" up the back and the reddish-pink legs sticking out like streamers are very noticeable.

Favoured habitats are shallow coastal lagoons and shallow margins of lakes, where stilts can feed in both fresh or brackish water. Food is variable ranging from aquatic insects, water snails, adults and larvae of water beetles, dragonflies and other flying insects. They will also take the seeds of plants growing in or near the water.

Black-winged stilts prefer to breed in loose colonies and they form small flocks outside the breeding season. The species is usually silent except during courtship and when mobbing an intruder.

Nests are on the ground close to water and in a shallow scrape or they can be built up with local vegetation. 3-5 eggs are incubated by both parents for 22-25 days. The young feed themselves soon after hatching and are able to fly at about 28 days, by which time they are independent.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

July Bird of the Month - Spotted Flycatcher

July Bird of the Month - Spotted Flycatcher

Preferred habitat is woodland edges with sunny clearings, large gardens, parks and cemeteries. The nest site is a natural or artificial ledge or niche, where the cup-shaped nest is sheltered, such as among ivy and other creepers. Open-fronted nest boxes are also used.

The call is a thin repeated "tzee" that has been likened to a squeaking wheelbarrow. The song is a quiet series of high-pitched notes and low scratchy warbles.

Spotted flycatchers are surprisingly tolerant of humans and can be seen regularly hunting for flying insects from a bare branch, catching butterflies and the like in flight, before returning to the same or a nearby perch.

Please join us for our walk around Broadwater Warren RSPB reserve on Sunday 15th July, where we have been lucky to see this species on previous visits. until then, click on the links to few a short video and download the BTO Fact Sheet on this fabulous little bird.

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