Friday, 18 May 2012

A King in the Reed Bed

It's not easy getting up at 4am, especially when you know you have a full day of work ahead of you. But the weather waits for no one, and the next constant effort site (CES) ringing session at Cranwich needed to be done.

Although cool for May, the weather conditions were perfect for ringing, overcast and calm. The session proved to be a busy one, with 54 birds in total caught including 28 reed warblers our focal species. However the best bird of the session was a beautiful male kingfisher.

Beautiful adult male kingfisher

Although widespread particularly through central and southern England, the kingfisher is listed as Amber on the Birds of Conservation Concern list. This list reviews the population status of birds regularly found in the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Seven quantitative criteria are used to asses the population status of each species, and each is placed on either a red, amber or green list.

The kingfisher is vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution and unsympathetic management of waterways, and is listed as amber due to its unfavourable conservation status in Europe.

Despite this there are still over 5000 breeding pairs in the UK and Ireland, and their flash of brilliant blue can often be glimpsed racing down a river. We don’t too many kingfishers at our sites and each time we do it’s a real treat!

Happy Rachael, the kingfisher and Barley!

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