According to multiple reports, European bee-eaters – usually found in southern Europe and renowned for feasting on bees and other flying insects – were spotted at an active Cemex quarry in Nottinghamshire, England this month.
European bee-eaters have only been known to nest six times in Britain since 1920 but are becoming more common in recent years due to climate change.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has reportedly brought in “round the clock security” to prevent any nesting attempts by the birds being disturbed by trespassers.
"Bee-eater sightings have been on the increase – pushed northwards by climate change, these exotic birds will likely become established visitors to our shores, and thanks to partnerships like this one with Cemex, we can provide the right habitats to accommodate them,” RSPB senior investigations officer Mark Thomas was reported as saying.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust county manager Tim Sexton also noted that the trust’s relationship with the quarry operator allowed rare species to be granted protection, stating, “The habitat within the quarry should provide all they need in terms of nesting opportunities.
"In the last 50 years, there has been just a handful of breeding attempts by this species in the UK and this would be the first for Nottinghamshire,” he added.
The RSPB has been involved in the planning and restoration of the Cemex quarry for the last two decades. This is to ensure wildlife is able to “thrive” while in operation and after work at the quarry has been completed.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust vice president Rob Lambert was also reported as noting that the presence of the bee-eaters at the Cemex quarry was a “tribute to a dynamic partnership” between the trust and the quarry operator.
"Sensitive conservation advice working alongside industry has created here not only suitable wetland and sandbank habitats for a thriving sand martin colony, but now, once extraction is complete, pass over into full management of the trust as a local nature reserve,” Lambert told the Nottingham Post.
It is believed that up to 1000 avid bird watchers would visit the quarry to spot the bee-eaters.
Cemex is a building materials company that provides products and services in more than 50 countries.