This is a continuation of our nesting bird blog, if you have not read part one, please follow the link below:

https://community.rspb.org.uk/placestovisit/paghamharbour/b/weblog/posts/nesting-birds---not-always-where-you-expect-part1

Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)

Avocets, which you may recognise from the RSPB’s logo, nest near brackish water and bare mud in loose colonies of up to 150 birds. Both parents pitch in to make the nest, which is either in sparse vegetation, a shallow scrape in mud or shallow water. The nest itself is created out of roots, stems and marsh vegetation. One clutch of between 3 and 4 eggs are laid, however if they lose the clutch before hatching, they will lay again. The survival chances of chicks are often poor as they can be greatly affected by weather and food availability.  

 

Little grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

These ingenious little birds use twigs and foliage to create a floating platform to nest on and attach it to the ground underwater. They place more vegetation on top of the nest to camouflage the eggs and keep them warm when they are not there. Once hatched, the parents sometimes camouflage the young, which can be referred to as ‘grebettes’, by carrying them on their backs.

 

 

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Lapwings are especially at-risk during nesting season, as they use different habitats for nesting and rearing their chicks. Nests are made from plant matter, either in shallow scrapes on bare ground or in short vegetation like grazed grass or spring crops. The eggs are speckled and well camouflaged. If the eggs fail, adults can make up to 4 more attempts to lay again. Soon after hatching, the parents lead their young to an area of low vegetation with lots of surface invertebrates, preferably flooded or damp fields. This journey is very risky and chick survival is highly dependent on the distance between the two areas. Once they are in this chick-rearing habitat, the parents and young remain there for between 5 and 6 weeks until the young are ready to fly.

Little tern (Sternula albifrons)

Little terns nest in colonies on beaches, inshore islets or spits. They make shallow scrapes in sand or shingle and lay 2-3 eggs. Climate change and human recreational disturbance have a been large factors in making this species one of the UK’s rarest seabirds. Unusual weather events lead to nests being flooded and washed away. Human disturbance like dog walking makes parents leave their nests, which risks the eggs and chicks being predated on or getting too cold. The eggs and chicks are very well camouflaged, which also makes them vulnerable to being trodden on. Over time this also leads to the birds forming fewer, larger colonies which makes the entire colonies of adults, eggs and chicks more vulnerable to predation.

Tune in soon for the final nesting bird blog, in which you can find out how you can help us protect these beautiful birds while they are breeding.

Anonymous