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Bee-eaters in Norfolk ‘worrying sign of climate change’

June 27, 2022

By Paul Homewood


h/t Joe Public





Rare "rainbow birds" trying to breed in the UK was a "worrying sign of how our climate is changing", the RSPB said.

The charity said bee-eaters had been making nest burrows in a small quarry at Trimingham, near Cromer, Norfolk.

The exotic birds are usually found in southern Europe and northern Africa.

Mark Thomas from the RSPB said: "While an incredible sight, we mustn’t forget that the arrival of these birds to our shores is due to changes to our climate and subsequent pressures on wildlife.

"Pushed northwards by climate change, these exotic birds will likely become established summer visitors in the future, having been an early and unmissable sign in the past two decades that the nature and climate emergency has reached our shores."

Despite the BBC employing numerous ‘Environmental Analysts’, ‘Climate Fact Checkers’, and ‘Reality Teams’ at Licence-payers expense, no mention is made of earlier visits to England by bee-eaters which demolish the RSPB’s false claim "worrying sign of how our climate is changing" quoted uncritically by the BBC.

Rare Bird Alert reports:
"Bee-eaters breed on the Isle of Wight
A pair of colourful and rare Bee-eater that have set up home on National Trust land on the Isle of Wight have become only the third record of this European bird to breed successfully in the UK in the last century.
Bee-eater, which would normally be found nesting in southern Europe, were last recorded breeding in the UK in 2002, when a pair nested in a quarry in County Durham and two young successfully fledged. Before that, two pairs were recorded raising seven young in a Sussex sand-pit in 1955."
(National Trust July 2014)

WikiP further informs:
"In 1955, three pairs of bee-eaters nested in Streat Sand Quarry near Plumpton, East Sussex. The birds were first found on 12 June, although the birds’ presence only became widely known at the start of August. ….. seven young fledged from the two remaining nests towards the end of August. An RSPB wardening operation was instigated …"

Joe Public has filed a complaint with the BBC.


Ian Magness has also been researching this, and has sent me copies from a couple of ancient bird handbooks, which relate how visits to Britain by bee-eaters have been recorded many times since the 19thC:


The Birds of The British Isles & Their Eggs – T A Coward, 1926



The Handbook of British Birds – HF Witherby, 1945

  1. Gamecock permalink
    June 27, 2022 10:51 am

    A few bee-eaters do not a crisis make.

    ‘Mark Thomas from the RSPB said: “While an incredible sight, we mustn’t forget that the arrival of these birds to our shores is due to changes to our climate and subsequent pressures on wildlife.

    “Pushed northwards by climate change, these exotic birds will likely become established summer visitors in the future, having been an early and unmissable sign in the past two decades that the nature and climate emergency has reached our shores.”‘

    BBC gets their climate information from the RSPB.

    • Tammly permalink
      June 27, 2022 11:41 am

      No one should listen to the so called wildlife experts, they spout ideological nonsense. A while ago I heard one mention the disappearance of corn buntings as due to climate change. So it’s getting too hot in Britain for them? Went to Spain on a business trip in 2010 where in the heart of the countryside it can reach 40deg in the summer. What did I find there? More corn buntings than you could shake a stick at.

      • June 27, 2022 12:26 pm

        But they should be challenged when they spout dubious, unsupported, propaganda …

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      June 27, 2022 4:02 pm

      In my 2006 RSPB Handbook of British Birds it says;-

      “Generally associated with warm climates.Breeds in valleys and lowland areas with low intensive agricultural land, open fields pastures and steppe with scattered trees”

      “In Britain it is mainly a rare passage migrant occurring in similar habitats , often near the coast”

      Their distribution map shows it all along the southern coast from Kent to Cornwall.

      No mention of any thing to do with climate change but that it also breeds in Russia and Asia and South Africa. Ss fairly widespread

      • Lorde Late. permalink
        June 27, 2022 10:12 pm

        And going even further back to my 1969 Readers Digest Book of British Birds (still my favorite) it says:(Under the section,visitors from south-west Europe and Africa). ‘Bee Eater’ A vagrant,mainly to the south east in summer but also recorded in spring and autumn. bred in sussex in 1955 (so it says).

  2. Brian Mead permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:00 am

    It seems that alarmists believe we should ideally be going back to something like the “optimum” UK climate from say 50 or 60 years ago, but I’m guessing that during the winter of 1962/3 millions of birds in the UK were wiped out due to that prolonged and deep cold. I for one am very happy to see Bee Eaters here, and it’s not as though they have been vacating Southern Europe due to extreme heat as they still happily exist around the Carmargue where I last saw them just a few years ago.

    • Crowcatcher permalink
      June 27, 2022 12:58 pm

      From my memory the 62/63 winter put paid to 75% of Northern European birdlife and some 50% of other wildlife (smaller mammals).

      • June 27, 2022 4:54 pm

        Well recollected there Crowcatcher ..The 1962 -63 winter drastically depopulated many small bird species in the British Isles

      • Stuart Hamish permalink
        June 27, 2022 4:55 pm

        Stuart Hamish ^^^

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:09 am

    Bee-eater sightings have been a regular summer story my whole life! Breeding is less often reported but so sporadic no trend is discernable.
    Sit back and wait for various shark or sunfish sightings, which equally have always turned up nearly every year, that recently the BBC has reported as climate change driven.

  4. Joe Public permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:13 am

    Ian Magness’s further evidence is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Ian!

  5. David Pounder permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:14 am

    This reminds me of the episode of ‘To the Manor born’ where a bee eater visited Grantleigh estate . There was no hysterical screaming about climate change back then. We were all too sensible to be taken in by such nonsense. Good luck with the complaint.

  6. Philip Mulholland permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:18 am

    Bad news for bees.
    Have they now become the Bee B C?

  7. David A permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:22 am

    Is that true? Or did you just hear it on the BBC……….?

    • Stuart Hamish permalink
      July 1, 2022 9:25 am

      BBC ‘Reality Teams ” !!

  8. June 27, 2022 11:27 am

    ‘Pushed northwards by climate change’

    Question for the BBC: Has *climate change* got past The Wash yet?

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:45 am

    Bee eater sightings amongst this lot, many pre-1900, including Cork and Shetland.

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      June 27, 2022 1:25 pm

      12 accounts in that list, of which 9 are pre-1900!

  10. Lorde Late permalink
    June 27, 2022 11:59 am

    The up side of all this of course is that we will soon be able to watch exotic birds whilst enjoying our uk produced wine and olives on our sun terraces!

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      June 27, 2022 3:16 pm

      These morons told us that 40 years ago. A climate like the south of France, by 2020, they said. Liars.

      • Lorde late permalink
        June 27, 2022 10:01 pm

        Although at school in the1970’s I have no recolection of any particular agenda being rammed down my throat.

  11. Bill Jefefrson permalink
    June 27, 2022 12:01 pm

    I live in Cumbria. A few years ago bee-eaters nested in a sand pit near Brampton, considerably north of the Isle of Wight!

    • Mark Hodgson permalink
      June 28, 2022 8:01 pm

      Bill, yes indeed. We discussed this at Cliscep when this latest story was first reported. I then commented that about a third of a century ago, while walking the low hills to the north west of Kendal I had the pleasure of an extended encounter with a bee-eater. I was taken aback, but it made my day. No doubt they’re fairly rare in the UK, but the “pushed north by climate change” angle is clearly a load of tosh.

  12. June 27, 2022 12:10 pm

    Interesting historical record of sightings:

    181 referenced sightings 1793 – 1957 with 49 between 1946 & 1957.

    1955 is the first accepted UK breeding, although an egg was laid in 1920 (in Scotland).

    Lack of breeding success before this is perhaps down to the fact that the majority of these birds, once seen, were shot.

  13. June 27, 2022 12:13 pm

    The RSPB – having their climate cake and eating it …

    The original story from the RSPB on 12 June :

    Buzz as rare ‘rainbow birds’ set up summer home in Norfolk

    Written by Jenny Shelton

    Seven rare, technicolour birds are setting hearts a-flutter after appearing out of the blue over the Jubilee Weekend.


    This is the sixth time bee-eaters have nested in the UK in recent times. Though undoubtedly rare, bee-eater sightings are on the increase, with a rush of UK breeding records occurring in the past 20 years.

    As their range continues to be pushed north due to climate change, these exotic birds may become established summer visitors.

    In Nottinghamshire in 2017, the last time there was a fall of bee-eaters, thousands of people enjoyed stellar views of these special birds, with families and eager birdwatchers alike travelling from all over the country.

    “Right now, these might be the seven most exciting birds in the UK,” says the RSPB’s Mark Thomas, who is working with local birdwatchers, the North-East Norfolk Bird Club and the landowner to set up a viewing scheme.


  14. Martin permalink
    June 27, 2022 12:37 pm

    They haven’t been ‘pushed north by climate change’, they have taken advantage of climate – I’m sure there are just as many further south as before. Anywhere in Africa you will find large numbers of very many different bee eaters.

  15. June 27, 2022 12:40 pm

    RSPB : Buzz as rare ‘rainbow birds’ set up summer home in Norfolk

  16. June 27, 2022 12:43 pm

    16th Dec – Mark Thomas, Head of Investigations, RSPB

  17. June 27, 2022 12:51 pm

    A previous sighting of bee eaters, much further north in Cumbria in 2015, featuring the delectable talents of Mark Thomas :

    No mention of “climate change” in 2015 …

    RSPB : Mark Thomas Come and see brilliant bee-eaters

    mark thomas

    31 Jul 2015

    During the week of 15th June, the RSPB received one of those calls you don’t often forget! Employees at the Hanson Aggregates Quarry at Lower Gelt, near Brampton in Cumbria, had been puzzled by the appearance of several exotic-looking birds that had suddenly appeared in the quarry. Contact was made with RSPB via the Nature After Minerals project and two local RSPB staff were dispatched on a fact-finding mission!

    This is what they found!

    Amazingly, a total of six bee-eaters were seen, hawking over the small sand quarry and courtship-feeding on the perimeter fence.

    Despite the fact that bee-eaters have bred in the UK on three occasions from 2002, this is still a very rare breeding bird and one needing full protection from the actions of egg collectors and unnecessary disturbance.

    The phone lines between the RSPB regional office in Newcastle and The Lodge were red-hot and plans were drawn up and rapidly actioned.

    The RSPB is proud to be have been involved in the previous breeding attempts and to be assisting this species with its colonisation of the UK.

    Talks with Hanson and the landowner, assisted by Cumbria Police, were very productive and protection wardening began almost immediately.

    Observations showed that two pairs of birds were nest-building and that the extra individuals were non-breeding ‘helpers’!

    Members of the local birding community were contacted and informed of the presence of the birds and brought on-board as very willing volunteers!

    Beyond the welfare of the birds always coming first, the RSPB’s aim in these situations is to attempt to provide a public viewing scheme, so spectacular birds can be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

    You can listen to a recent podcast featuring the work of the RSPB in protecting rare breeding birds, prepared by Charlie Moores as part of the Talking Naturally series.

    It was clear that Hanson and the landowner shared that belief and the location was absolutely perfect, with ample parking and good observation points.

    We are pleased to announce that the viewing scheme is now operational and the location can be found on the map below.

    Please follow all on-site instructions and under no circumstances enter the active quarry.

    The site is open from 8 am until 8 pm daily, with a number of RSPB staff and quality telescopes on hand to assist you with your visit.

    There is a £5 parking fee at the land owners request.

    *** Ends ***

  18. Tim Spence permalink
    June 27, 2022 12:54 pm

    And by contrast 3 Arctic ‘snowy’ owls were spotted in Cantabria last year.

  19. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 27, 2022 12:58 pm

    Cork, Shetland, Caithness, prior 1900.

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      June 27, 2022 2:12 pm

      Climate disruption, of course. Hot is cold and cold is hot.

  20. June 27, 2022 1:06 pm

    The BBC are one of the worst offenders but sadly not alone. The off the cuff unsubstantiated use of the term climate change as a lazy “excuse” for anything people do not understand requires a new interpretation of the word asininity. In times gone by we blamed the French or Catholics for all our ills, now it is climate change and the more this nonsense is not challenged the more the impressionable will take it as fact (which is the intention).
    The lack of challenge to the use of this term as a blame all permitted and encouraged by the BBC is nothing less than a nail in the coffin of the Enlightenment.

  21. James permalink
    June 27, 2022 1:12 pm

    I was surprised and disappointed that the RSPB seemed less intent on celebrating something special than on spinning a negative out of a positive.

  22. June 27, 2022 1:22 pm

    From no mention of “climate change” in 2015 …

    to 2017, when, according to the RSPB’s Mark Thomas, the bee eaters presence in the UK, was due to “climate change” …

    Plan B-eater

    Jenny Shelton

    4 Jul 2017

    After touching down in East Leake quarry on 25 June, the Nottinghamshire bee-eaters have successfully hatched chicks – just the third time this has happened in a decade.


    Last week the surprise arrival of seven bee-eaters provided a colourful interlude to our usual routine. The magnificent, multicoloured seven turned up at East Leake CEMEX Quarry, near Loughborough, on 25 June and quickly began to draw a crowd. As with the last few times bee-eaters have shown up, we knew we needed to act.

    Before the Millennium, there were just two breeding records of bee-eaters in the UK. These exotic, kaleidoscopic visitors certainly look more suited to their southern European and African homelands, but increasingly they’ve been turning up on our grey and rainy isle, appearing at random in County Durham (2002), Herefordshire (2005), Isle of Wight (2014) and Cumbria (2015). Another species being pushed north by climate change, it would seem.


    Says the RSPB’s Mark Thomas, who has co-ordinated ‘Plan B’: “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.”

  23. eastdevonoldie permalink
    June 27, 2022 1:42 pm

    Why are the BBC, RSPB and eco-loons pushing the ‘crisis’ and ’emergency’ mantra when even the latest IPCC Report is now stating “No Change for 15 years”?;

    Clearly, a bad weather event, a rare bird sighting coupled with alarmist headlines uysing ‘crisis and emergency is now the best they can come up with.

  24. June 27, 2022 2:00 pm

    RSPB Facebook post & selected, rather fragile comments :


    17 June at 20:28
    These rare, technicolour bee-eaters are setting our hearts a-flutter this week!
    This is only the sixth time these beautiful birds have nested on our shores in just 20 years, having been pushed northwards from the Mediterranean by climate change.

    Images by Mike Edgecombe


    Comment :

    Lesley Michie
    They are beautiful, but I must say that their presence here worries me more than it pleases me to see them.

    Jasmin Schelts
    I have seen them in northern a busy beach car park, nesting in the dunes..raising chicks whilst the surfers and sailors trundled their craft through the car park! No reason why they shouldn’t do well here as the temperature rises. Beautiful noisy birds.

    Suzzy Lee
    Beautiful, but also how sad they find their way here due to climate change. I’m not sure too many people realise the relevance and how many species we stand to loose 😢.

    James Hounslow
    As beautiful as they are it’s a sad sign of the times 😔

    Joanna Hover
    I’m torn between liking this because they’re beautiful and feeling sad that we’re making such a mess of the planet that their usual habitat is no longer suitable.

    Karen Reed
    Love/hate this…. Love the birds, really stunning, hate the climate change aspect.

    Sven Twitchington
    I went to see them yesterday. Amazing to watch, their colours are like nothing we normally see. Worrying if this becomes a trend though.

    Lynne Spaight
    Laura Davies beautiful – never seen them here


    Kevin Borman
    Climate change, Laura Davies. They have become increasingly common visitors to (and occasional nesters in) the UK in recent years.

    Laura Davies
    Kevin Borman I was trying to find some good to the awful reality of what’s happening 😳😥

    David Brede
    Amazing. If there is any more evidence needed that climate change is real then this is it.

    Jill Savin
    Beautiful but we need the bees at such a critical time on this planet

    Karen Ramsay
    These are stunning but it’s really not a good thing that they’re over here

    Mick London
    Beautiful but sad if brought here by climate change

    etc etc

    • Lorde Late permalink
      June 27, 2022 3:23 pm

      Those comments fromthe RSPB members are what we are up against, although if the Guardian holiday pages are anything to go by I’ll wager that many of those concerned folk will still be jetting abroad for their hols and will still be driving a mid range SUV to the health club for smashed avocardo on sourdough.

  25. June 27, 2022 2:00 pm

    RSPB Facebook post

  26. June 27, 2022 2:01 pm

    RSPB Facebook post


  27. June 27, 2022 2:01 pm

    RSPB Facebook post :

  28. Gerry, England permalink
    June 27, 2022 2:05 pm

    The same ‘pushed north’ lie is used frequently. We had it with butterflies all heading north as it was too hot in the south. But the authors of this crap deliberately miss out the fact that the range has extended northwards. And I am not sure where all this global warming is in my corner of Surrey as Wunderground has a heady 62F for today and no sign of the magic 70 until Saturday. From Thursday of next week we will see mid-70s but then that is a long way off for a forecaster who had us down for light rain this afternoon that has magically disappeared from the forecast.

  29. Gamecock permalink
    June 27, 2022 3:17 pm

    Has anyone started a list of things BBC doesn’t like?

    1. Bee-eaters

    2. Good weather.

  30. Ben Vorlich permalink
    June 27, 2022 3:25 pm

    I think Snowy Owls have been seen in the Western Isles this century.

    A pair nested on Fetlar Shetland on several occasions in the 1960s and 70s, now they’re gone and only visitit must be Climate change too

  31. Gamecock permalink
    June 27, 2022 5:08 pm

    Gamecock is a bit of a birder. A few years ago, I saw a bronzed cowbird outside my gym. Fully 600 miles out of their normal range. He flew away before I could ask him if he were here due to climate change.

    The birds are likely to be in England because they got blown off course by a storm while they migrating. Looked around, and decided, “This is jolly okay.”

    After nesting season, they fly back home. They are unlikely to return.

    • Gamecock permalink
      June 27, 2022 6:33 pm

      I should add, the scenario of birds being blown off course during migration is known to birders. All of them. Including Mark Thomas. The RSPB knows it. All their members know it. Thomas has issued a ridiculous assertion while using RSPB’s name.

      ‘Joe Public has filed a complaint with the BBC.’

      For what? Being stupid? Believing what RSPB said? They are the real villains in the story.

  32. mwhite permalink
    June 27, 2022 7:08 pm

    “In 1920, a pair made a nesting attempt in a sand bank of the River Esk at Musselburgh, Scotland. A local gardener captured the female, keeping her in a greenhouse, and she died two days later, after laying a single egg.”

    “n 1955, three pairs of bee-eaters nested in Streat Sand Quarry near Plumpton, East Sussex. The birds were first found on 12 June, although the birds’ presence only became widely known at the start of August. One nest was accidentally destroyed by machinery in July, but seven young fledged from the two remaining nests towards the end of August”

    Not that unusual

  33. cookers52 permalink
    June 28, 2022 9:09 am

    Absolutely ridiculous

  34. dennisambler permalink
    June 29, 2022 11:28 am

    “rainbow birds” Are they not responding to the BBC rainbow campaign, where everything now has to be in rainbow colours?

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