A rather belated BLOG Post, due to the length of time it has taken me to process my images from a recent trip to Iceland. First discovered around the middle of June 2017, a total of 7 Bee-eaters were found at a small quarry near East Leake in Nottinghamshire. Remarkably and so very soon after their discovery by a local birder, the RSPB, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and CEMEX, the quarry owners, had set up a sensible watch-point, visitor monitoring system, along with Car Parking facilities that were organised with a local farmer. I must confess it did make me wonder if these birds had been in the area for quite sometime and the site was being kept quiet. Bee-eaters are a scheduled 1 species and as such are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Under this act rare species are offered total protection and therefore it is an offence to deliberately or recklessly disturb them at their nest area.
Over the weekend of July 1st-2nd, some 2,500 people made a visit to the site to see these colourful birds. Bee-eaters have successfully bred in Britain during the past few years and due to climate change, they may well turn up in the UK on a more regular basis. Let’s hope so, as they are stunning birds. I went to see them on 1st July, when at least 6 birds were regularly on view, on and off during a three hour session. Although distant for photography, I managed a few record shots of the birds. They were feeding from a tall Ash Tree and went off on regular hunting forays catching Dragonflies, Bumble Bees and I even saw one catch a Meadow Brown Butterfly. The birds are still present on July 7th, so I am guessing they must have youngsters in their nest burrows by now. I am sure I will re-visit at a later date, especially if they do fledge young ones.
European Bee-eater – East Leake, Nottinghamshire – July 2017 – This image made it into Rare Bird Alert’s weekly rarity “Round-Up” – Tony Davison©
European Bee-eater – East Leake, Nottinghamshire – above 5 images – Tony Davison© – Record shots, being the best of a bad bunch..