Wings over the Brecks reveals secret lives of stone curlew, nightjar and goshawk

A Goshawk chick pictured in the Wings over the Brecks project. Picture: Ian Smith

A Goshawk chick pictured in the Wings over the Brecks project. Picture: Ian Smith - Credit: Archant

The secret lives of some of our region's most elusive birds have been revealed in a groundbreaking new widlife surveillance project.

The Wings over the Brecks scheme placed hidden cameras on Weeting Heath in April to capture the previously unseen habits of species such as the stone curlew, nightjar and goshawk.

The stone curlew is notorious for its furtive nature, but the project was able to lift the lid on its feeding, nesting and breeding habits.

The project was run by the Breaking New Ground Landscape Partnership, in partnership with the Forestry Commission, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Visitors to High Lodge and Weeting Heath reserve have also been able to watch the birds on a live stream.


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Sammy Fraser, RSPB Brecks community engagement officer, said the project had given people the chance to connect with the nature around them.

'This year has been the busiest year yet with lots of different species caught on camera, the project has been able to allow everyone to see these stunning birds and to learn more about the Forest and the outstanding wildlife found in the Brecks,' she said.

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Among the iconic moments captured were the successful raising of two fledgling stone curlews.

Visitors were able to see the process from the incubation and protection of eggs, through to the chicks growth and eventual fledging in June.

The Thetford Forest camera showed a female goshawk chick - named 'Boudica' by social media followers - with footage beamed back to High Lodge via 4.5km of fibre optic cable.

Other activities have run alongside the project, including guided forest walks and family events.

Volunteers have also clocked up more than 300 hours through helping at events, showcasing the footage, helping find nests and setting up cameras.

The project is still looking for volunteers to join the project team. For more information, go to www.breakingnewground.org.uk/our-projects/a-home-to-many/wings-over-the-brecks/

The project will be running free family events during October half-term, including project stands on October 27 and 29 and a bat walk at High Lodge with Suffolk Bat Group on October 30.

To find out more contact 01842 753732 or email thebrecks@rspb.org.uk .

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