A pair of colourful and rare bee-eaters, normally to be found in southern continental Europe, has set up home on National Trust land on the Isle of Wight.
It is only the third record of the bird breeding successfully in the UK in the last century, the last being in 2002 in a quarry in County Durham. Two young successfully fledged. Before that, two pairs were recorded raising seven young in a Sussex sand-pit in 1955.
The latest bee-eaters, were discovered on the Isle of Wight in mid-July, having set up home in the sandy hills of the Wydcombe Estate in the south of the island.
They chose a small valley where the soft ground, rolling landscape and access to a stream provides ideal conditions for their nest burrow.
Ian Ridett, a National Trust Isle of Wight Ranger, said: “We have set up a 24-hour surveillance operation around the site to protect these rare visitors, as any unhatched eggs could be a potential target for egg thieves.