Thursday, 22 May 2014

Kingfisher Fledging Day!

Rye Meads - 14th May 14

Weather: Mainly sunny with some cloud. Quite warm.

Birds Total: 43
Plus: Brimstone, Orange Tip, Peacock butterflies.
Plus: Black-tailed Skimmer, Hairy dragonfly.
Plus: Crab Spider; Flesh Fly; Hoverfly.
Plus: Carp; Grey Squirrel; Konik Ponies; Muntjac.
Plus: Bluebells.

I had previously decided to visit the Wetland Centre at Barnes today but on hearing that the Kingfishers were about to fledge at Rye Meads I changed my mind and headed there instead.

After days of rain and cloud today was forecast for warmth and sunshine, which, for once, proved to be the case. On the journey down I spotted a Jay; House Sparrows and lots of Blackbirds. Chiffchaffs were singing all around the area. A Grey Squirrel appeared and gave me a long, hard look before disappearing up a tree.

When I arrived at the Reserve, bang on 10am, I thought I would be one of the first to arrive. But I could see lots of cars already parked up and when I walked into the visitor centre they told me that the Reserve had been opening up at 9am since the beginning of the year! Doh!

I figured that the Kingfisher Hide would be packed by now so I stopped off at the Draper Hide to organise myself. Looking out over the lake I could see Common Tern; Lapwing; Pochard; Little Grebe and Stock Dove. Lots of Swift were criss-crossing the sky above.

I didn't hang around long having decided to head for the KF Hide and see if I could get in. On the way down lots of Warblers could be heard with Reed; Sedge; Chiffchaff and Cetti's being the most vocal. I spotted a silent Whitethroat flitting about on a tree and, just before the turn-off a Song Thrush flew over.

I arrived at the KF Hide to find just one more seat left, which was next to a couple of familiar faces. Thereafter, I spent the rest of the day sat watching out over the little lagoon, waiting for some KF action. Well, you have to spend at least one day a year watching a fledging.

I was treated to quite a show by the adult Kingfishers, flying in with fish and feeding two of the young which had fledged earlier and the rest who were still in the nest. Adults, fledglings and even the odd mating occurred throughout the day with the adult male landing close to the Hide, at least once, allowing an opportunity for some fairly decent photos.

Other than the KF show we were also treated to views of a pair of Kestrels appearing with food swaps; a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers; a Coot family swimming around feeding just in front of the Hide; a pair of Moorhens, one climbing along a branch; a lone male Blackcap feeding on the Blackthorn to our left; a Jay flyover and Wrens and Tits flying back and forth all day feeding youngsters.

Warblers sang out all day around the area and even a female Muntjac paid us a visit. A pair of Hairy Dragons appeared every time the sunshine came out and there was even an appearance by a juvenile Black-tailed Skimmer. A Carp was chased off by an adult Coot whenever it came close to the Cootlets. Was this a case of Carpe Diem?

As the day wore on it became apparent that the adults had decided that the rest of their brood could stay another night in the nest and so they made further food drops for the rest of the afternoon.

At 4.30-ish everyone headed for the exit. I decided to visit the Draper Hide again and on the way spotted a white-form Crab Spider with a its prey, an unfortunate Flesh Fly. There wasn't anything to add to the list and so I headed home myself.

It looks like the rest of the Kingfisher family will probably fledge tomorrow but unfortunately I have other plans.