Avocets set up home at city marshes

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THIS family of avocets are the first of their breed at Farlington Marshes.

Instantly recognisable for their curved beaks, they have set up home at the nature reserve, run by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

The marshes have played host to avocets roosting for a number of years.

But this is the first year that they have stayed for summer and laid eggs, with several chicks hatching and two successfully surviving to fledging.

Trust reserves officer Chris Lycett said: ‘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.’

Avocets, have distinctive black and white plumage and upturned beaks andwere once a common sight along our shores.

But egg collecting, taxidermy, and other threats meant that numbers plummeted by the mid-19th century.

More recently habitat loss has seen further declines.