09/07/2021
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Black-winged Stilt pair breeds in Sussex

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It's been confirmed that a pair of Black-winged Stilts bred at Rye Harbour in East Sussex this summer, although it's not certain that any of the chicks fully fledged.

The adult pair were first seen at the site on 21 April and frequented the Castle Water area for several weeks. By 2 June, the adults' behaviour changed, with the pair chasing off potential predators, suggesting that they had nested and chicks had hatched. 

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On 3 June three chicks were indeed seen, with a fourth spotted on 17th. With an incubation period of 25 days and four days to lay eggs, this works out at approximately 4 May for the start of nesting. On 30 June, only one chick was seen (though the others may have been out of view). 

However, following some unseasonal wet and windy weather on 7 July, only the adults were seen, but on the afternoon of 9th one chick as seen. As a result, it's thought most likely that the other three stilt chicks were not raised to the flying stage.

This marks the second time Black-winged Stilt has nested in Sussex in the past decade, following the successful breeding of a pair at Medmerry RSPB in 2014.

Further details can be found on the Sussex Wildlife Trust website here.