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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 > 10 July
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A dawn visit.

10 July

I visited the nest site at 6.15 this morning and it was beautiful. The sun was already climbing in to a cloudless sky and it was bright, very peaceful and calm. Apart from just a couple of dog swimmers at first, then it was as quiet as it could be. I went early because there was a high spring tide at around 8 40 which would have made it impossible to sit in the hide during the morning, I needed to be there nice and early. I have also decided to keep away from the nest site during the most popular times of day to try and avoid any conflict which is just not helping. The Kingfishers have obviously got a strategy to cope and even if there is some disturbance that will compromise the nest it is virtually impossible to stop it.

I would have expected the Kingfishers to bring food constantly but it didn't work out that way. It was almost half an hour before any visit to the nest by the birds and then, really surprisingly, it was almost an hour before another. After that though, several fish were brought even though the spring tide was rushing in and the water level by now was very high. I have commented previously that it is interesting to see how the birds fly straight in to the burrow, obviously knowing exactly where it is but then today, I was fascinated to see something quite different. The water level was high as I have said and the male came to the burrow with a fish but instead of flying in he was confused and tried to fly in to the wrong hole. He suddenly realised his mistake but couldn't find his nest, he left and flew over to my side of the river returning with the fish to the correct burrow a short while later. It seems that visual references are used to fly accurately to the burrow but on the few occasions that the water level is high the "scene" must have looked totally different which is obviously confusing. Eventually the water level had risen high enough to inundate the hide so before 9 I was back home for breakfast. During the session the light was just about as good as it could be and I took a few nice photos.

Pentax PENTAX K-5 II s
1/3200s f/6.3 at 500.0mm iso1000 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
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