Sunday, 2 August 2015

Brilliant Brampton Breeding Bucket List Bee-Eaters

On Friday morning I read the fantastic and surprising news that two pairs of Bee-Eater had bred in Cumbria, with a total of six birds present in and around Low Gelt Quarry, just off the A69 and not far from Brampton.
I remember having a conversation about twitching with a colleague in the RSPB and I said that I wouldn't consider myself a big twitcher, its just something I don't really do. That being said I told him a few species I would twitch; species such as the Roller, Hoopoe and Bee-Eater. 
So when I got wind of Bee-Eaters in my neighbouring county and the fact they were breeding, I had to do it! They are after all a bucket list bird for me they're beauties!
Managed to get my Bee-Eater hungry face in the local paper; hint: Look for the beanie! ;)

Upon my arrival the twitch remained quiet for a good while, the weather was a bit chilly and overcast. Not what I expected, to be honest I expected the six birds to be very active upon arrival, this wasn't the case and it was a good hour and twenty minutes before I got my first glimpse.
Very distant Bee-Eater; shot on a 300mm lens. The result was clearly less than adequate.
It was a disappointingly distant lone Bee-Eater, it showed briefly perching on a fence post and flying above the nesting Sand Martins on the far side of the quarry. 
Another long wait ensued and with more and more twitchers arriving it was beginning to look a tad grim, then suddenly another lone Bee-Eater; probably the same one, appeared again in the same area, perching on the fence posts and dropping into the nest burrow a couple of times.
Only one of the six birds was showing whilst I was there and the individual never came closer than a few hundred metres, a bit of an anti climax but I suppose thats twitching and with this being an organised twitch by the RSPB  for breeding birds the viewpoint was always going to be very distant.

That aside it was such a buzz to finally see my first Bee-Eater, however distant, and brilliant to have two pairs breeding up here in Northern England! 
Hopefully a sign of more to come! Bee-Eaters would inject a nice oomph of colour into British bird life along with the Kingfisher and a few others.
I may make another trip across in the coming weeks on a warm afternoon and try my luck again; its to good of a bird to refuse after all!

David
Nature North East

Digi-scoped Bee-Eater, using my iPhone and another birders scope.