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Home   Medway   News   Article

Rare black-winged stilt chicks have hatched at the RSPB Cliffe Pools nature reserve

16 June 2014
by Clare Freeman

It’s been 30 years since the last chicks were hatched in the UK, but last week, rare birds became proud parents right here in Medway.

The black-winged stilt chicks came out of their eggs at RSPB Cliffe Pools, Hoo Peninsula on Friday (June 13).

The last successful breeding attempt by the species was in Norfolk in 1987.

The birds visited the reserve seven years ago but didn't produce any young

The birds visited the reserve seven years ago but didn't produce any young

The pairs were discovered on the nature reserve last month and volunteers have been keeping a close eye on them.

Warden Andy Daw said: “It is very exciting that the chicks have successfully hatched.

“We managed to protect the eggs, but there are still challenges ahead because the chicks will become more vulnerable to predators.”

The birds are usually found in the Mediterranean, but it is thought a dry spell in southern Spain has led them to move here.

The wading birds are normally found in the Mediterranean but a changing climate means they could visit the UK more often

The wading birds are normally found in the Mediterranean but a changing climate means they could visit the UK more often

Black-winged stilts are large black and white waders with long reddish pink legs. They nest in wetland and feed on insects which they pick from the surface of the water or forage for in shallow mud.

Cliffe Pools has ten percent of the UK’s saline lagoons, a very rare habitat which gives the black-winged stilts what they need to breed and raise their chicks.

It is believed that a changing climate may bring these birds more regularly in the future. Chicks were also hatched at RSPB Medmerry near Chicester.

Mr Daw added: “It’s been a fantastic breeding season on the north Kent marshes, and we have recorded record numbers of lapwing chicks.”

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