European Bee-eaters breeding on the Isle of Wight!!
Having watched the developing news over the previous weeks with more than a little interest, it was becoming frustrating not to be able to find the time to pay them a visit.
When news broke recently that three youngsters had fledged, we decided it was now or never.
4.30am this morning we left Essex and made our way to Lymington to catch the ferry across to Yarmouth.
We caught the first ferry across and after another 17 miles we were parking the car in the temporary car park by 8am, met by two of the volunteers.
A horse box was being used as a make shift centre, and apart from these two volunteers, there were only three other people present.
A quick chat and we were told of the most popular feeding areas of the Bee-eaters, but that the chances were not good given the weather conditions.
But within a very short time of setting up the scope, I was watching my first ever Bee-eater as it flew in and landed at the top of a bare Elm tree.
This was to be the pattern for the entire time we were there. They would fly in, perch up on the tree and after varying times fly off only to then return to the same tree with their catch.
We were lucky enough to see three birds perched in the tree at the same time
With the weather overcast and a few short showers added in, the birds remained distant and well out of range of the camera. One bird did fly overhead calling while we were there.
The main tree being used proved to be very popular, with two Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, and a possible Spotted Flycatcher all using this tree during our visit.
The volunteers went on to inform us that there were four adult birds and that there was still one bird in the nest that had not yet fledged.
With the birds having made the nest on the ground within an old rabbit burrow, the area was protected with an electric fence to keep out the foxes, and volunteers watching the site 24/7 in case of egg thieves.
A job well done.