Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust run wildlife reserves in and around Portsmouth, including their small Milton Locks reserve and the much larger Farlington Marshes at the northern edge of Langstone Harbour. The marshes and the harbour islands (run by the local RSPB) are home to many different bird species from the winter visitors like Geese, to the summer nesting breeds such as Terns. No doubt the car park off of the Eastern Road must have been packed with twichers recently…as the trust announced that the rare Avocets have successfully bred for the first time at Farlington Marshes.
Avocets, with their distinctive black and white plumage and upturned beaks, were once a common sight along our shores. However, egg collecting, taxidermy, and other threats meant that numbers plummeted by the mid-19th century. More recently habitat loss has seen further declines. Farlington Marshes nature reserve is vital in the local area as a safe place for winter birds to rest, and has played host to avocets roosting for a number of years. However this is the first year that they have stayed for summer and laid eggs, with several chicks hatching and two successfully surviving to fledging.
“It’s really exciting to gain a new breeding bird at Farlington Marshes, especially one that with such a remarkable conservation story. Next year we’ll be giving them a helping hand by putting in put in measures to hopefully boost their numbers and ensure better breeding success.” – Chris Lycett, reserves officer.
Please tag us in to any photos you might have on social media, we would love to see them! Also, we have a Strong Island Photo Walkshop up at Farlington Marshes on the 19th of August, if you want to visit this beautiful part of Portsmouth and learn more about how to get creative with your camera. You can find out more and book online HERE.
Juvenile Avocet at Farlington Marshes © Chris Lycett
Adult Avocet at Farlington Marshes © Chris Lycett