Invasion of the Black-winged Stilts! 25 July 2014

With 2 breeding pairs of Black-winged Stilts in the south being well documented this summer there was another pair breeding in west Suffolk that were completely off the radar! News broke of this successful pair near Cavenham Heath about a week ago when the young had fledged. They must have bred at one of the gravel pits in the area and either been completely overlooked or just kept quiet. I made the trip this morning and an adult was on view on my arrival on the far side of the main gravel pit. With some patience I eventually had 2 adults and 2 juveniles as they flew in from an unseen pit behind the main one. The juveniles appear fully grown whilst one of the adults has a clean white head/neck and the other a black hind neck. Distance and heat haze prevented photography but even at range I also managed to pick up a Wood Sandpiper, several Lapwings, Great Crested Grebes and a Little Egret while Green Woodpeckers were a regular sight. Reed and Sedge Warblers were still in full song.

On nearby Cavenham Heath an impressive post-breeding flock of c25 Stone Curlews were very welcome. An Emperor Moth caterpillar crawled across the Icknield Way track and butterflies included Small Heath, Small Copper and Common Blue amongst the more numerous species.    

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