Our first brood of kingfishers have fledged, hurrah!
As has been the story with this pair in 2015 things did not go as you would expect! The first chick fledged on Tuesday 11 June, followed by another on Wednesday with a third seen at the entrance to the burrow. However at the end of the day the adults were still taking fish in to the burrow and this continued until the end of the day Thursday. Today, Friday, chick number 3 fledged and since then we have not seen any fish going in to the bank. So we can confirm 3 chicks but it is likely some more fledged in the evenings or early morning.
Normally a whole brood will fledge in a morning with the possibility of activity for a day. But for a fledging to continue over 4 days, i have never heard of.
The adults continue to be active around the nest bank and mating started around the 5 June on the second brood, so we are again waiting for incubation to start, hopefully following more of the usual course.
Thanks, see you soon
We had a good day on Saturday doing minibeasting, pond dipping, birdwatching and generally surveying all the wildlife that lives at Rye Meads. A big thank you to all those that participated as we got some really good results and managed to ID a fair few. In the absence of experts in the field of some of the invertebrates there are many we couldn't identify down to species level, but we gave it a good go and 110 is a fairly respectable total!
If you wanted to take a look, here are the results:
Black headed gull
Lesser black-backed gull
Little ringed plover
Long tailed tit
Common blue damselfly
Blue tailed damselfly
Large red damselfly
Broad bodied chaser
Large white butterfly
Small white butterfly
White ermine moth
Buff ermine moth
Green carpet moth
Common red soldier beetle
Thick legged flower beetle
Devil’s coach horse
Greater water boatman (Backswimmer)
Lesser water boatman
Common pond skater
Daphnia (water flea)
Common fish leech
(The following not to species level)
Common Newt (A)
And here are a few highlights of the day:
Thick legged flower beetle (Odemera nobilis)
Photo by Darren Bast
Poplar Hawkmoth (Laothoe populi)
Photo by Vicky Buckel
Bank vole (Myodes glareolus)
Photo by Helen Jones
So, following on from our last post a couple of days ago, it seems that our Kingfisher pair have successfully thrown us all off the scent yet again! In latest developments it seems that possibly their first brood of the year have actually hatched within the last few days and they are now actively feeding the youngsters!!
[Photo: Keith Bedford]
Most people will know that we got off to quite a shaky start this season.. thinking they were incubating.. thinking they weren't.. and in the end unsure what on earth was going on! Were the couple having problems? Had she become too old to breed anymore? Had they had enough of bringing up kids?!
Eventually, during the week we were able to confirm that the pair were finally sitting on eggs and it looked as if we would have some chicks after all.. however what we didn't bank on was that they might have been incubating for longer than we thought! The incubation period for kingfishers is around 19 - 21 days so if they had been sitting since the 24th April, they could feasibly have hatched chicks by now, and this looks like it might be the case. Watchers in the hide have seen fairly regular sightings of the parents going into the nestbank over the last few days, more than would be expected if they were still incubating, and sometimes taking in fish with them. This seems to have started sometime between Wednesday and Friday. At this early stage we must stress that this still isn't 100% conclusive, and when chicks are very tiny they won't need much in the way of fish to keep them going, but hopefully as we get into next week, we may get better evidence that this is the case. A big thanks to the kingfisher team Simon, Brian, Ray and friends who are often down in the hide monitoring the situation and have kept us up to date.
So this looks like it could be fantastic news! And it also means that now marks the start of a great time to come down and see some kingfishers. Visitors over the weekend have had some nice sightings of the birds to-ing and fro-ing with beakfuls of fish, and this looks set to increase as any little ones grow. We have worked out an estimated fledging date of between 7 - 9 June if they have indeed already started feeding, and we will of course keep you in the loop if anything changes (which may well be the case as this year they seem intent on keeping us guessing!!)
Of course if anyone observes something contradictory or notices anything else that may help us decide what's going on then please do report it at the desk - the more eyes the better!