The organisers of the Kingfisher Lottery Club are always keen to invest funds into projects that improve the overall experience of both human and wildlife visitors to the nature reserve. So they jumped at the idea of installing a Kingfisher Bank to improve the Kingfisher population.
So what is A Kingfisher Bank? It is a number of artificially made nesting units installed into a steep earth bank at the waters edge. The units consist of a nesting chamber and upward sloping entrance tunnel. The units were chosen on the recommendation of many websites, including the RSPB.
The base of the tunnel (1m in length) and chamber is made of mesh to allow drainage, while the main body of the unit is made from a breathable ‘woodcrete’ designed to prevent condensation.
Where is the Kingfisher Bank?
The steep earth bank to the right of the Cobham Hide pit seems to be a suitable site to install the Kingfisher Bank as there is no danger of erosion or rising water levels.
Why haven’t kingfishers nested there already?
Kingfishers prefer a clear flight path into the nest site and over the years dead wood and branches have fallen into the pit. This has now been removed by volunteers. Which also improves the view from the Cobham hide.
What am I looking for?
Looking out of the window on the right-hand side of the Cobham Hide, across the pit to the bank, you may be able to see the tunnel entrances. They are approx. 10cm x 10cm so quite hard to see without binoculars.
There are three in total because kingfisher usually have two/three broods per season and build a new nest for each brood, approx. one or two metres from the original nest.
While the holes are fairly small and hard to see, a kingfisher is hard to miss. Although small, they are unmistakably bright blue and orange birds. They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches and they make a shrill ‘Toot Toot’ call.
How will we know if it’s successful?
We are relying on our eagle-eyed bird watchers to record all sightings of Kingfishers seen at Cobham Hide via the sightings board/book in the Visitor Centre and Facebook page.
In addition, at the end of the year, our nest box survey volunteers will inspect, record and prepare the nesting units for the next season.