16
Jan
14

Black Curlews

Black Curlew is an old English name that refers to the Glossy Ibis. It is the use of this name in old texts that lead us to believe this bird once bred on these shores during ancient times.

As far as I’m aware Glossy Ibes (the plural never sounds right) are not currently breeding in Britain but there are certainly a lot around; scattered across the country in singles and small groups. This is usual of late. The species is prone to late winter wanderings and a few landing on our doorstep from time to time is to be expected. It is a bird more at home in the warmer climate of the Mediterranean. In 1993 a regular breeding pair took hold in Spain but by 2007 the population in the Iberian Peninsula had increased to 3777 pairs. In the Camargue the breeding has risen from 14 pairs in 2006 to 478 in 2010. Despite numbers globally decreasing, in Western Europe numbers appear to be on the up!

The first breeding record for France outside the Camargue took place in 2011 just outside Nantes … just 300 miles from the British Coastline.

As we watched a Glossy Ibis feeding in the flooded grazing meadows in the Glaven Valley here in Norfolk the day before yesterday I couldn’t help wondering how long it would be before Black Curlews once again became a regular backdrop to our countryside.

Glossy Ibis

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