Sixteen local nature lovers braved the rain on Saturday 20 January 2018 for FORCE’s annual bird photography walk and talk on the Duke of Northumberland River. Strolling from St John the Baptist Church to Crane Park, the group proved that birding in wet weather comes with great rewards. Far from discouraging our feathered-friends, the rain enticed a host of winter visitors out into the open to feast on the worms which had surfaced on the banks of the river. Bird photographer and walk leader, Dan Keel, said: “A huge thank you and well done to the bird lovers who pulled themselves out of bed to enjoy the local wildlife.
“It was great to see such a huge age range of locals enjoying the river. This year we even had a toddler on tour, while it was great to hear tales from our more senior birders who recalled the ‘big freeze’ of 1962/63 which nearly wiped out the entire English kingfisher population. As with last year we found the bare tree branches made birding a lot easier than compared to spring. We all got an excellent view of a kingfisher, watched a flock of redwings feeding on berries, heard and saw three or four goldcrests and were treated to an awesome display from a little egret on the return leg.”
The sole little egret seems to have made a home for itself on the Isleworth/Twickenham section of the river. It has now been spotted on at least six occasions and on Saturday morning was even brave enough to rest in a tree near the footpath.
Do you know the difference between a male and female kingfisher?
A male kingfisher has an all black bill while females have an orange base to the lower part of the bill.