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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 > June 7
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Lots of disturbance.

June 7

I arrived at the nest site this morning after not visiting since last Tuesday evening. I had found it really stressful then and thought that there is not a great deal I can do to help if disturbance is taking place, I can't do anything about it so I would rather not know. When I got there this morning, just as before on my last visit it was as though there was no nest nearby, Kingfisher wise, it was quiet and there was no sight or sound of a bird and if you didn't know of the nest burrow just opposite, you would be no wiser. My ears are tuned in to the sound of a Kingfisher calling and I noted down every time I heard one. My notebook tells me that it was about 15 minutes before I heard one, just twice in a minute or so and then within 30 minutes one flew in front of the hide from up river. When the first hour was up I had briefly seen one bird and I suspected that the other one was sitting tight on eggs in the burrow. At least I hoped so. The usual dog walkers and stone throwing owners had come and gone but most hadn't lingered too long and as there was no sign of a Kingfisher then they were causing no disturbance whatsoever. After I had been there 75 minutes, suddenly a bird arrived and called loudly but unfortunately that coincided with the arrival of yet another dog and owner so the bird who I suspect had arrived to take over, moved on up river. There was now a period of well over 35 minutes when there was absolute peace and quiet with no people or dogs and this would have been a great time for a change over at the nest. It didn't happen then though and I did begin to wonder if everything was OK? I now know that to be the case and it just proves that the none incubating bird keeps away from the vicinity when the other one is sitting. It was during this quiet time when a Carrion Crow actually perched on my hide (with me sitting in it), proving that it is an accepted part of the landscape now. I love it when this happens. After 15 minutes short of 2 hours the first really interesting activity took place and I will quote from my notebook. "KF calls loudly and again flies by me.... and now again. Now I film it next to the nest (see above) but it gets disturbed by someone who, totally oblivious walks right past on the bank above the bird just 2 feet away. (I wonder how many times people do that)? The bird flies of (still unseen), and flies towards me and then, calling very loudl it flies off up stream. It's 18 minutes later when the walker and his doggie had gone and then it flies back and settles on the same stick. In fact, in exactly the same place. Note: This is usual behaviour, once a KF has used a perch it will repeatedly use it. Unfortunately there was still a dog and owner near but this time, even though he is aware of them he stays put on the perch. During that 18 minutes I saw a bird fly strongly up-stream, this was the female leaving her sitting duties. I could clearly see that this perched bird was the male and after a few seconds, up he went to take his place on the eggs. The female had spent more than 2 hours in it's nest. All in all, after a lot of patience, a great outcome. It seems as though incubation is progressing nicely.

Pentax K-5 IIs
1/125s f/5.0 at 500.0mm iso1600 full exif

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