Avocet hatchlings will soon make their first appearance in Chichester now the rare birds are breeding at the RSPB’s Medmerry nature reserve for the third year in row.
Approximately 24 pairs of the graceful black and white birds have nested in the reserve’s stilt pools, and each pair is expected to lay between two and four eggs.
The long legged chicks have already started emerging, and with the stilt pool only a short distance away from the footpath visitors can view the incredible sights of a species classed as extinct in the UK until 1941.
Chris Corrigan, RSPB regional director, said: “This success story is particularly thrilling for us, as the avocet is the emblem of the RSPB and its increase in numbers since the 1940’s represents one of our most successful conservation and protection projects.
“Conservation work undertaken by staff and volunteers at Medmerry is vital in increasing populations of avocets and other species which are at risk, and it’s wonderful that visitors can get close enough to see the chicks just beyond the protective fence.”
The RSPB managed site is home to the only known breeding population in West Sussex.
Avocets first bred at RSPB Medmerry in 2014, with eight pairs taking advantage of the newly created wetland habitat. In 2015 a further 18 pairs nested.
Having bred successfully, avocets are often faithful to a site in subsequent years, so it is likely that some of the pairs are returning guests.
RSPB Medmerry is the largest managed realignment scheme on the open coast in Europe, and the work undertaken by the Environment Agency since 2011 has created amazing new wetland habitats.
Located just outside Chichester, the protected site is vital to many migrating and rare species.