Rare bee-eaters under 24-hour guard in East Leake quarry
This is what happens when a once-in-lift-time experience occurs in your local area. Having watched the report on my local TV news and seen later reports I can confirm that the estimated crowd of "twitchers" visiting East Leake at the week-end was estimated at 2,500. And with birds apparently settled in for the breeding season and likely to be in the area for the whole of the summer, I imagine that the final count will be well in excess of ten or even fifty thousand visitors. Indeed, the site is not so far away from Rutland Water so, if still present, I would not be surprised to see additional visitors combining East Leake with next month's Bird Fair.
The following is extracted from the BBC News Internet site:
Mr Sexton said now the "incredible" birds have settled he is expecting a few thousand people over the weekend, but encouraged visitors to view them from the designated watch point.
The RSPB and the wildlife trust are also providing volunteers to not only give out information and help to birdwatchers, but also report trespassers. The birds, which feast on bees and other flying insects, are likely to nest at the site and have probably travelled northwards because of climate change, the RSPB have said.
|Obviously photographs taken before the big week-end rush!
Springwatch presenter Chris Packham said: "It's an exciting bird, they're made of a patchwork quilt of colours which make them very exotic.
"They're head of a vanguard of birds that are moving northwards thanks to climate change... we've had increasing numbers of these birds remaining into summer [in the UK] and breeding."
The birds, which burrow into sandy banks, nested in Cumbria in 2015, and on the Isle of Wight in 2014.
|A trio of the seven Bee-eaters Merops apiaster present at the quarry
Bee-eaters are normally nest in southern Europe and are a very rare breeding bird in the UK
- They nest in colonies in sandy banks often near rivers
- The birds can burrow in 10ft (3m) tunnels and usually lay clutches of four to nine eggs
- They can be seen tossing bees into the air after catching them
- Bee-eaters are a schedule one species, which means intentional or reckless disturbance of their nests is a criminal offence
All photographs take from BBC News page
Check out the accompanying website at http://www.birdingaxarquia.weebly.com for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information.