BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Breeding success for rare visitors
Bee-eaters
There are 26 species of bee-eater
A pair of bee-eaters have successfully hatched chicks in the UK for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The birds - which have a distinctive kaleidoscopic plumage - are normally found in southern Europe.

Birdwatchers flocked to the Middleham Quarry nature reserve in County Durham last month when the pair took a detour to north-east England.

A military-style surveillance operation was mounted to stop collectors raiding the birds' eggs which eventually hatched on Tuesday.

Bee-eater facts
There are 26 species of bee-eater
The bee-eater catches bees and other insects on the wing
In the Gambia, West Africa, their name means "cousin to the fire" because of their attraction to bushfires
They don't usually like the UK, because they are "birds of the sun"

Mark Thomas, of the RSPB species protection unit, said: "Bee-eaters are stunning birds and to have a pair nesting again in the UK after nearly half a century is an amazing event.

"They have brought a brilliant splash of unexpected continental colour to northern England this year."

Observers monitoring the movements of the adult birds were alerted that the eggs had hatched, with the adult birds making numerous journeys delivering food to the chicks.

Sightings of the chicks are unlikely to happen until next month and it is not yet known how many have hatched.

'Absolutely delighted'

The last recorded breeding pair of bee-eaters was in 1955 when two pairs nesting in a sandpit in Sussex raised seven young.

Prior to that the only other known nesting attempt was in Scotland in 1920.

Public viewpoints have been set up for bird watchers who are expected to flock to the Durham Wildlife Trust site to catch a glimpse of the colourful birds.

Richard Wood, chief executive of the Trust, said: "Bishop Middleham Quarry is particularly important for its flora, including several species of orchid, but we are, of course, absolutely delighted that the bee-eaters have chosen to breed there."


Click here to go to BBC Tees
See also:

11 Jun 02 | England
14 May 02 | England
11 May 02 | Wales
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes