By Jenny Brown
Last updated at 09:51, Saturday, 29 August 2015
Crowds of bird watchers are expected to flock to north Cumbria over the bank holiday weekend with the hope of being the first to see the chicks of exotic rare birds.
Experts say young bee-eater chicks could fledge from their nest at Hanson UK’s Low Gelt quarry, near Brampton, any day.
Bee-eaters, which are one of Europe’s most striking birds, have been living in the sand quarry since June and in the past month more than 5,000 people have visited the site with the hope of catching a glimpse of their kaleidoscopic feathers.
RSPB bee-eater warden Jason Moule said they were expecting a surge of visitors in the coming days.
“It’s still pretty busy and pretty steady at the moment but it could be that the chicks are going to fledge at any time now. It could be any day. It is very exciting,” she said.
They are almost at the stage where they are ready to fly and it will be the first time anyone has had the chance to see them.
The RSPB is expecting three or four chicks but bee-eaters can lay any amount of eggs between four and a maximum of 10.
Jason said: “They’ve been taking a lot of food in but at the moment now that’s starting to die down a bit because they’re trying to drop the weight of the chicks because they’re actually a lot heavier than the adults at this stage. They’re trying to get their weight down so they can fly.”
There were originally two pairs but one has moved on. Jason explained that until they can investigate the nest they can only guess the second pair left due to weather or because they sensed their eggs weren’t fertilising properly.
Another helper male has arrived and is also feeding the chicks.