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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 > Kingfisher flying to the nest July 9th 2013
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Yet to fledge the nest.

Kingfisher flying to the nest July 9th 2013

This is the day that I had predicted fledging but as far as I know, they haven't. The disturbance is minimal today and most people have not lingered long apart from one pair who were interested in the lamprey that do seem very plentiful today and who could resist watching the spectacle of these large writhing beasts in very shallow water. The problem was that they had 3 dogs between them and these dogs were and are, because I have seen them before, vey active. I suspect that the nest burrow is very smelly as both yesterday and today these dogs tried to sniff at the nest entrance. They were right on top of the nest for an age and II finished up in a right row with these two older men, one even threatening me. I pleaded with them to leave but they just kept turning the argument in to how rude I was and how much they hated people like me. I think what they really hated was being asked to do something that they didn't want to do, I am like that so I can fully understand. I just said I was sorry to appear rude and could they just leave to which they said that if they wanted to stand there for as long as they liked then they would. It was no use telling them of the law because when I did that was just winding them up and making it worse. We even had the usually stock answer of I have been coming here for 30 years. An obvious reference to my non West Country accent! Eventually by walking as they berated me I was able to get them away without them realising. A Kingfisher even delivered a fish at this point! Amazing really. But as far as arguing with two Bolshy Last of The Summer Wine characters, well I could do without it. According to the more aggressive one of the pair, I am a menace for trying to stop them disturbing the nest, which of course, at the end of the day, is a criminal offence. Am I wrong to care about these Kingfishers, I don't think so but I am probably better off just watching and hoping rather than actually getting involved with people you can never win and even if the police were called, it would be 20 minutes before they turned up and by then the damage has been done or they have moved on any way.
I am at the hide again now and as I write it is very quiet, fortunately. It's also very very warm, as warm here today as South Florida, some of the warmest UK conditions that I can remember. I have seen the Kingfishers bringing to the nest so that is good but their visits are far less frequent than you would imagine. I would suspect that disturbance has caused some damage but this is a public area and people do have the right to be here. They obviously don't have the right to disturb the nest but then if they don't know its there then so be it. I will think twice about getting a license for this nest next year because frankly it is intensely stressful. I am constantly hoping that people will leave quickly and not splash about too much. But when I am not here people still come and go so I have to accept it as a fact of life.
I know I have alienated some people by asking them to leave the nest area even though the very few people I have asked to move seemed to be very accommodating and nice. To be honest, I am quite deflated.
I do think that youngsters are still alive in the nest though, in fact I am certain and I do think that one or two will fledge, so all in all, considering where they are breeding, that is a good result. As if to cheer me up, a Kingfisher has just delivered a fish after first perching in front of me and then flying to the nest and with other people now arriving to bathe their dogs I move away.
Right at the end of my session a very nice young couple had put a blanket down and were picnicking just above the nest. I really didn't want to get involved but then I thought that I must. I walked all the way around again and as kindly as I could, I told them of the nest and the potential for disaster. As if to help me, I heard a bird and as we all watched sat there on the grass, in it came and disappeared from view in the nest beneath us. Then when it emerged it flew off dunking itself in the water to bathe several times in mid flight. They were thrilled to see this. They packed up quietly and left to sit somewhere else well away. There, that was better.

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