Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Kingfishers and other things

I mentioned during our September trip that I’d seen far more kingfishers than ever before — some days so many that I stopped counting them. So when the wildlife expert Chris Packham was in at work a few days ago, I took the opportunity while he was waiting to go on air to ask him why there appear to be so many this year.

He said the main thing that dents their numbers is a harsh winter — sixty per cent can be lost in a really bad one — but the past few years have been very mild, so their numbers will have been maintained. In addition, they breed very quickly, with pairs having two or even three clutches of eggs a year. They lay eight to ten eggs, and if all goes well, they’ll get six or eight chicks to fledge. That makes September prime kingfisher spotting month.  Chris also said that it’s very difficult to tell a mature adult kingfisher from a young one because they grow to full size quickly (they’re smaller than you think) and they get their adult feathers quickly too.  He said wrens follow a similar pattern, with their population taking a big hit in a hard winter, but numbers bouncing back rapidly over the next couple of years. Interesting stuff.

I’ve driven up to Briar Rose this afternoon, as I have a boat test tomorrow. It’s been much sunnier than forecast all the way up — and we could do with the same tomorrow, which isn’t forecast to have much sun at all.

I thought I’d better put aome water in the tank, as the last time we filled was in Braunston a couple of days before the end of the trip. It was really very pleasant out on the well deck, looking across the marina.

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