The King and I
WOW a blue flash across the Filter Beds this afternoon turned out to be a kingfisher. It was making shallow dives into the water so may have been taking insects. About 60% of food items are fish, but kingfishers also catch aquatic insects such as larvae or water beetles and in winter, crustaceans, including freshwater shrimps. Perhaps they also take amphibian larvae, especially when the Thames is still in spate.
The bird remained for twenty five minutes on the same branch before I had to deliver my car from evil and also watch a burglar being arrested along the Portsmouth Road.
Kingfishers have been seen on the site only twice in the past.
During the Inspectors site visit (2002) a kingfisher flew over the filter beds making an easily recognised high-pitched piping whistle. However, it is the time of year and length of stay, which makes this siting interesting as it could be a breeding record. It cannot breed in the drainage holes (where sand martins have bred) as the water levels have topped the holes for the first time since the developers drained the beds (2010). If it is breeding in one of the vents, this indeed would be an exciting record.
So if you walk past look for a flash of blue, it may be the pipe that is sticking out of the basin. But if it is an even brighter iridescent blue, it might be the King. Cheers for grabbing the Canon Powershot Jill!