Well it has been a bit of a topsy turvy week for our kingfishers.
Fledging was expected 14-16 May after 24-26 days of being fed increasing larger fish and putting great demands on both parents. Well so far there has been no sign of fledging!
Last Saturday 11 May we ran our first VIP kingfisher morning of the season and both adults were seen, however very soon after that the male seemed to disappear! We time our VIP mornings to coincide with the hectic activity towards the end of a brood where the pair are both coming and going feeding the well grown young and they would also "normally" be courting (the male brings the female fish), excavating and picking a new burrow and mating. However there was no sign of this activity. All reports coming in were of the female only. Where was the male?
I was holding out hope that the male would turn up and we received a couple of confusing reports, but by Tuesday 14 May we had to accept that the male had gone and i tweeted the sad news only to hear in the afternoon that a male had been seen at the bank with the female! Again we shared this good news only for Wednesday to revert to reports of only the female feeding the chicks.
The female is doing a grand job of feeding the young by herself but this does mean that there is a lot less activity at the nest bank and the frequency of her visits varies considerably. Yesterday (Thursday) for a spell in the morning she came every 15 min this then extended to 30 min and other reports of 45 min. So nearly a week of being a parent down has delayed the fledging date, we will not know by how much until they fledge. But she will continue feeding the chicks until they are ready to emerge.
So what has happened to the male? I am afraid we will never know, in the past we have had a female predated by sparrowhawk (and the male has successfully fledged a brood as our female is doing now), males are know to fight to the death defending their territory from another male. It is promising that we had reports of a male at the nest bank 14 May as this may mean there is a male scouting for a territory in the area. If this is the case and a new pair can bond we may get a brood later in the year, we will keep you posted.
We think the rest of the brood fledged last night. Today the female has not been bringing fish trying to entice the young out, so looks like the fledged while we were closed. However, good news, the female has been investigating other boles today, so fingers crossed.
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