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Charlie Fleming | all galleries >> Birds of the world in Taxonomic order. Species count to December 2023 is 980 >> Common Kingfisher - Alcedo athis >> Breeding Kingfishers 2013 > July 8th
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Fish brought to the nest

July 8th

I have been keeping a diary right back from when I first started to watch the breeding Kingfishers. It was hard for me to say with absolute accuracy when incubation began, therefore it was impossible to say exactly when they hatched and now of course, it's impossible to say when they are going to leave the nest. Making some assumptions as I have watched, I put on the calendar that they would fledge the nest tomorrow, but that is far from certain. Chicks apparently can stay longer in the nest depending on the amount of food they receive, it could be another week even? There certainly is a never ending supply of fish but it perhaps hasn't been delivered with normal regularity because of interference and disturbance mostly by dog walkers who will insist on encouraging their charges in to the water which causes such a massive amount of disturbance and stress to the adults. Take this morning as yet another example. An old dog was in midstream in front of the nest, between me and the nest in fact. It was trying to catch the mullet in the way that Alaskan Bears catch running salmon. The owner was just sitting nearby dangling her feet in to the water. After 10 minutes of this I asked her to leave and told her why but she just couldn't get the old, decrepit and probably deaf dog to obey her and just couldn't climb out of the water. Consequently, 20 minutes later it was still there, and all this right in front of the nest. But you know what? A fish was delivered to the youngsters during this time and when the dog was just up stream and not right in front.

Eventually the dog was retrieved and quietness took over. But it was well over an hour between adults visiting the nest. Then I saw something that made my heart sink. One of the adults eventually came to the nest with prey and went inside. All was well and good I thought but then I saw that when it came back out of the burrow it was still carrying the fish. Did this mean that the chicks had been left too long between feeds and they were too week to beg? I was then desperate to watch for more deliveries to check if fish were delivered. It was another 20 tense minutes before another adult came with a fish and then this time the fish was delivered and I was very relieved. I watched another few visits all about 10 to 20 minutes apart and was pleased to see that the prey was left each time. When I left it was about the quietest it had been for quite a while in spite of the very warm and sunny weather.

Pentax PENTAX K-5 II s
1/2000s f/6.3 at 500.0mm iso2000 full exif

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