(European) Bee-eater reported sightings have been common this year with mostly being frustrating flyovers. It's been a species I've only ever seen in Spain so when 6/7 had been found at a quarry south of Nottingham I quickly arranged an early departure from work. The Squire & the Mayor of Warwick joined me for the pursuit up the M69. No reports on RBA & the Major announcing he had dipped Bee-eaters five times previously slightly dented our confidence.
The birds were first spotted on 25 June at East Leake Cemex Quarry which has very similar habitat at Salford Priors. Quickly parked up, a successful birder pointed us down a bridleway where we past many happy punters returning to their cars. The walk took about ten minutes to the prime spot where you viewed across the quarry to a large ash tree where the birds were showing very well. Just dropping off the large tree and catching dragon flies, bees and various other insects with a few seconds. One of the pairs looked to be on very good terms certainly giving hope they may nest in the quarry. Whilst the birds looked totally stunning when sat on the tree when in flight they were just fantastic to watch, some calling in flight .
A crowd mixed between birders & locals enjoyed great views and a viewing area with car park has been set up for birders seeking the best views of the birds in the coming days if they stick around. This can be found at Lings Farm, LE12 6RG.
Colourful and unmistakable, Bee-eaters are rare visitors to the UK and normally nest in southern Europe. The last time they nested in the UK was 2015, when two pairs set up home in a quarry in Cumbria. They have also nested on the Isle of Wight (2014), Herefordshire (2005) and Country Durham (2002). These beautiful birds may stay for the next couple of months should they breed.
A quick return journey to Worcestershire with Coldplay on the IPOD rounded off a cracking jolly outing.