We have been hiding a little secret! Well two fairly sizeable black and white ones to be more accurate...
And then there were four! Hatched yesterday morning and left the nest mid-afternoon...
The first Avocet breeding record for the county I am told! What a turn up for the books, although have to say it did feel on the cards considering the increase in their UK breeding range and the fact that in recent years late spring Avocet records on Black Hole Marsh, often involving multiple birds, have been getting more frequent.
Avocet is traditionally a rare winter visitor and scarce passage migrant on the Axe. It is now a rare winter visitor, regular passage migrant and breeder!!!! I guess we will just have to wait to see if it is a one-off or the start of a new era.
It is really good to know the habitat here can support a breeding pair though, even if it does turn out to be a one-off. Shout-out to the parent's who have been amazing throughout, sat tight on the eggs at all times and chasing absolutely everything away! They are so vocal, I hear them almost every night from the house (which makes a nice change from the constant cacophony of Oystercatchers!).
Let's hope the young ones make it through to fledging. Good luck Axe-born Avocets!
NB Breaking news - a third chick has now been spotted! A day later than the appearance of the first two.