As an update to our posting earlier this month  on the Kingfisher Viewing Hub development we wanted to let you know that

  • contractors have now completed their works extending the pool in front of the hide, removed clogging vegetation from the ditches and created some new water vole habitat
  • Contractors have now completed all the work that can be done until the hide is constructed
  • Our volunteer work parties have installed the first sand and nesting chamber layer on the new kingfisher nest bank, and will construct the second layer this week

 Next week we will be

  • installing the third and final layer on the nest bank, building the access chamber
  • installing perches for kingfishers
  • laying new cable for the CCTV extension to the system


Features of the New Kingfisher nesting bank

We have been updating you on the construction of the kingfisher nesting bank along with other works, we thought you may like to hear more about the design behind the construction.

The bank has several features to prevent predators such as mink, stoat or weasel from accessing the nesting chambers:

  • The front face of the nesting bank is in water making it more difficult for predators to access the bank
  • The base has a smooth facia emerging from the water to prevent predators from climbing
  • The three nesting layers have block walls on three sides, with only the front facia exposed, to prevent burrowing to the nesting chamber and chicks
  • The roof has an overhang at the front to help prevent predators accessing from above (as well as helping to shelter the front of the bank from wear)

Unfortunately, there is not much we can do to prevent predation from birds such as Grey Heron - who often wait patiently outside the bank to catch a  passing kingfisher - or Great Spotted Woodpecker that can fly straight to the tunnel entrance and excavate into the nesting chamber.

The new nesting bank is based on the current bank design, with a few new tweaks…

We still have:

  • Three separate layers of sand - the layers prevent tunnels collapsing into each other or chunks of sand falling out.
  • The sand is saturated and compacted to provide a suitably solid substrate for kingfishers to dig tunnels and chambers in. They excavate tunnels as part of their courtship.

New tweaks

We have added two artificial nesting tunnels and chambers per sand layer, and an access chamber at the back of the bank. These two features are designed to provide an opportunity to place a camera in the nest chamber (under licence) if the Kingfishers decide to nest in one of these chambers. 

 This is a busy and exciting stage of the project where lots will be happening so expect more frequent updates and photos.

Please keep an eye on our website, community blog, RSPB Rye Meads and our Facebook and Twitter pages for further project updates.


Community Blog:

Twitter: @RSPBRyeMeads

Facebook: @RyeMeadsRSPB (currently appears as ‘RSPB news & views for London, Berkshire and Surrey’)