We announced the rare breeding success when six chicks had
left the nests on 3 August, and a final four now bring the total up to ten
this year. Family parties have been spotted further along the Norfolk and
Lincolnshire coast feeding, with young begging for food.
This is a significant breakthrough for one of the UK’s rarest breeding birds.
Spoonbills have only bred four times in Britain in the last three hundred
years and the number of successful nests in one place gives Natural England
staff at Holkham hope that a new colony may establish on the well managed
Senior reserve manager Michael Rooney said: “The birds have benefited from
nesting in dense trees surrounded by water, remote from human disturbance.
We’d like to thank the bird watchers for leaving the nesting birds alone
during those vital early weeks when adults are feeding their young. Six
successful nests could be a sign of things to come here at Holkham, but only
if the adults return knowing they can rear their young undisturbed.”
Spoonbills are named after their rather comical broad bills which they
elegantly sweep through water to feed. Sightings of one or two spring passage
birds are typical for North Norfolk, but attention was aroused when a total of
9 spoonbills - mostly adults in full breeding plumage - arrived in the area.
The spoonbills set up home in the mixed breeding colony of cormorants, grey
herons and little egrets already on the site.