25/08/2020
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Somerset Black-winged Stilt chicks fledge

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The only Black-winged Stilts to hatch in Britain this year have successfully fledged in Somerset

A trio of stilt chicks have flown the nest at WWT Steart Marshes, where they hatched last month. This is the first time the wader has ever nested at the reserve and it is the most westerly point in the UK that the species has ever bred.


One of the three fledged Black-winged Stilt chicks at WWT Steart (WWT).

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Black-winged Stilt is a rare breeding species in the UK, thought for the last few years to be on the verge of colonisation. Nesting records are almost always in South-East England. Stilts tend to be site-faithful, so this exciting development increases the chances of a small population forming at WWT Steart.

Alys Laver, Site Manager at WWT Steart, welcomed the news. She said: "We've been spoiled. From the first sighting of these unusual visitors, to the discovery of a nest, and the arrival of three healthy chicks, what more could we want than all of them to successfully fledge? There's finally something to shout about in 2020!

"Steart Marshes is still a relatively new habitat, having been created just six years ago. This is a perfect example of how quickly wetlands can start to support wildlife, local and rare, with a little TLC. Now that the chicks can fly, they've passed the most dangerous stage of a bird's life. We hope they'll come back and visit us next summer – and who knows, maybe they'll even breed here again.

"We wish them well on their winter migration. Meanwhile, we'll be managing water levels over the next year to make sure our freshwater areas are in the best possible condition for their return."