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Thread: Basingstoke Canal Kingfisher

  1. #1

    Default Basingstoke Canal Kingfisher

    I was speaking to one of my customers the other day whose house backs onto the canal between The Swan PH and Ash Wharf. She said that last year she watched a Sparrowhawk eating a Kingfisher on the lawn.

    "I can't remember exactly when but I do remember it was just before the clocks changed as it was still light and it was about 17.00 in the afternoon"

    I was surprised that a Sparrowhawk would be able to take a Kingfisher but I have no reason to doubt her solid identification of either bird species.

    On the RSPB website it says of the Sparrowhawk "They're adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces like dense woodland, so gardens are ideal hunting grounds for them"


    What a shame; it's a highlight of any paddle when one of these beautiful birds shoots past.

  2. #2
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    I saw a Sparrowhawk harassing a Kingfisher on the River Yare just before Christmas. To be honest, I didn't know it was a Sparrowhawk, but a fisherman that I paddled past identified it. "Circle of life" I guess!

    Robin
    The early bird may catch the worm... but the second mouse gets the cheese!

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    Didn't know they take kingfishers, but it makes sense if they see one on a branch they can get at suddenly. Very efficient things, sparrowhawks!

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    Coincidentally I was talking with Bernard Hoffman yesterday (whilst on a very chilly paddle) about seeing the same thing a few years ago on the river Taw. A group of us had witnessed a hawk take a kingfisher, but when it spotted us it dropped its catch and flew to a nearby branch. We paddled over to the kingfisher but it was too badly injured to save, and we departed assuming the hawk would be back to finish the job. I've often wondered how/why evolution has evolved a bird so brightly coloured, as it seems to go against the idea that good camouflage makes for a better chance of survival.
    Paul
    Just goin with the flow

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsmith View Post
    I've often wondered how/why evolution has evolved a bird so brightly coloured, as it seems to go against the idea that good camouflage makes for a better chance of survival.
    Paul
    At this time of year they are indeed fairly obvious. When there are leaves on the trees, though, I always find it amazing how difficult they are to spot despite being bright orange and electric blue.

    It is also unusual that both male and female are the same bright colour, most often in the bird world the male will be the only one showing off.

  6. #6

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    I guess that a Kingfisher sitting on a branch, concentrating on the murky waters below might be quite oblivious to attack from above.

    Another consideration is that there have been, until quite recently, fairly low numbers of raptors. Perhaps over the last 100 years or so, some prey species may have got used to looking out for cats rather than Birds of Prey.

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    It is also quite common , or so I understand for kingfishers to kill each other, but not for food!

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    They tend to ambush and drown each other, bizarre !

  9. #9
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    "I was speaking to one of my customers the other day whose house backs onto the canal between The Swan PH and Ash Wharf. She said that last year she watched a Sparrowhawk eating a Kingfisher on the lawn."

    You must've been close to my house then, I'm pleased to say we still have a Kingfisher on this bit of canal as we see it frequently flashing through the garden at the waters edge. I saw what looked like a stoat dashing along the tow path not so long ago which was a first time for me.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigyellowtractor View Post
    Another consideration is that there have been, until quite recently, fairly low numbers of raptors. Perhaps over the last 100 years or so, some prey species may have got used to looking out for cats rather than Birds of Prey.
    Off topic, but on the Radio 4 farming show, a poultry farmer mentioned that Red Kites were now taking a significant number of his free range chickens

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    'significant number?' Kites take very few live prey, it's not in their nature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    'significant number?' Kites take very few live prey, it's not in their nature.
    Their numbers have increased by so many ,they are now killing for food, they are competing with buzzards for carrion, we have also had problems with them taking pheasant chicks

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidfletcher View Post
    It is also quite common , or so I understand for kingfishers to kill each other, but not for food!


    Protecting their territory I would assume. I saw a program on the telly many years ago and it showed footage of our friendliest little fellow, TheRobin, leaping on the back of of a rival, gouging it's eyes out and caving it's skull in.





    Quote Originally Posted by Sirus View Post
    You must've been close to my house then, I'm pleased to say we still have a Kingfisher on this bit of canal as we see it frequently flashing through the garden at the waters edge.
    She has seen up to three at a time in her garden.

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    I wonder whether the sparrowhawk would mind having a go at the swan at the end of the Farnborough runway

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    Quote Originally Posted by aannddyyhh View Post
    I wonder whether the sparrowhawk would mind having a go at the swan at the end of the Farnborough runway
    Is he still there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    Is he still there?
    he was there when I was last there. which, after checking my paddle log, was ... last April. thought it was more recently!

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