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Northwich Video News
Once in a lifetime opportunity to see rare stilts nesting
BRITAIN'S rarest breeding bird has set up home for the summer at a real jewel in Northwich's crown.
A pair of leggy black winged stilts are nesting at Neumann's Flash, part of Northwich Community Woodlands, which is hundreds of miles from their usual breeding grounds in mainland Europe.
This is only the seventh time stilts have tried to nest in the UK, a mere four of which have been successful, but the pair are thought to have several eggs and the RSPB are keeping a very close eye on them.
Paul Winter, from RSPB Northern England, said: "Seeing stilts in Cheshire will be a once in a lifetime experience for many of the visitors to the country park.
"If we are lucky and the eggs hatch it's going to be quite a sight watching the young learning to walk."
The birds have extremely long pink legs with their knees in their feathers and their ankles in the middle of their legs.
Their legs are so long that when they sit in the nest, which is built on the ground, their ankles are above their heads.
Visitors can take a close look at the stilts with the help of RSPB staff and volunteers from Wednesdays to Sundays between 10am to 5pm.
The flashes are one of the many varied habitats in Northwich Community Woodlands, which includes Marbury Country Park, Anderton Nature Park and Carey Park and which is home to masses of wildlife.
Peter Schofield, Carey Park ranger, said: "We've got about 900 acres and for me it's the sheer variety - from country park and formal landscaping to a reclaimed landfill site.
"There's a couple of chemical works a mile or so away and a fairly big town centre on the doorstep and yet it feels like you're miles away from anywhere.
"This area's got a massive industrial past but it's really greened up and is getting great wildlife and conservation value."
Carey Park itself contains a site of special scientific interest as lime waste was tipped there from the 1940s to 1960, creating a lime bed colonised by rare plants and wildlife.
The park even produces power for a large part of Northwich as methane from the former landfill site is piped to a mini power station and the electricity fed into the National Grid.
It is expected to continue to produce power for another 15 years as well as providing a great place for walkers, cyclists, horse riders, bird watchers and animal lovers to enjoy.
For more information ring the rangers on 01606 77741.
Guardian chief photographer Nick Jones visited Neumann's Flash and videoed the rare stilts setting up their new home.
The Guardian has also videoed the beautiful bluebells in Marbury for anyone who missed them.
To see the videos visit northwichguardian.co.uk and follow the video links.
What to look out for: Butterflies - The rare (in Cheshire) dingy skipper can be spotted around the lime beds for a six to eight week period in spring.
Other butterflies include the brightly coloured common blue and more rarely seen brimstone butterfly, which is bright yellow in colour and often seen on Marbury Lane.
Dragonflies and Damselflies - There are 19 species of dragonfly and damselfly in the woodlands, including the emperor dragonfly, which is the largest British dragonfly and mainly blue if male or green if female.
Bats - The Northwich Woodlands has at least seven species of bat ranging from the small pipistrelle to the larger noctule bat.
Young birds - Through spring and summer many young birds are about. Many, particularly tawny owls, fall on to the ground and are vulnerable to dogs finding and killing them. Dog owners should take extra care to keep dogs close to them to protect young vulnerable birds.
Orchids - Several species of orchids can be seen on or around the lime bed areas. To see them up close book on a lime bed lovelies guided walk on June 25 with Ranger Steph Hefferan.
Moths - We have recorded more than 380 different species of moths at Marbury Park and that's just the macro moths. Moths are really night flying butterflies and many are just as beautiful. To get up close with some come along to Marbury Park on June 8 at 9.30am and see what was caught on National Moth Night.