Flurry of interest as rare stone curlew bird spotted near Bassetlaw

A flurry of interest has been sparked after a locally rare bird was spotted near Wellow.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 9:52 am

A stone curlew got twitchers excited when it made an unexpected pit stop on farmland.Ecologist Greg Gilmore spotted the bird during a survey of land managed by farmer Tom Channing.

Tom had applied to take part in the Nottinghamshire WildlifeTrust’s Nature Recovery Network in Farmed Landscapes project, funded by Severn Trent Water, after he wanted to create a feeding-scape for wading birds.

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The Stoney Curlew spotted on farmland at Wellow

The listed stone-curlew, is a striking crow-sized bird, similar to an oversized plover, with large yellow eyes and a black-tipped bill.

Its appearance was surprising, as the species is generally a rare summer visitor to southern England and East Anglia, and very unusual in Nottinghamshire, although they did use to breed in the county, the last reported one was recorded near Rainworth in 1891.

Once it was confirmed the bird was not nesting, the farmer delayed drilling the field with seed until it moved on.

Experts assume the bird overshot its nesting ground in Norfolk and chose arable field most similar to its natural environment to rest, feed and wait out stormy weather.

The discovery prompted calls for “farmers and conservationists to collaborate more on nature’s recovery,” according to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. The bird’s presence, initially meant some farmers and landowners had been wary at being inundated with visitors wanting to see the bird, and worried about trespass damage.

Concerns were also raised over visitor safety due the best vantage point was on a sharp road bend, but measures were taken after it was recognised that seeing the bird could be a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity.’

The farmer, ecologists and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust worked together so people could sensitively and safely view the rare visitor.

The trust’s head of nature recovery for the north, Janice Bradley, said: "The unexpected arrival of the stone curlew is a lovely reminder that seemingly nondescript arable land can provide respite and safe haven for wildlife even if this was just a ‘pit stop.’

“The bird was feeding and preening itself throughout the day – much to the delight of those able to see it.”