Thursday, 16 September 2021

Reading RSPB Groups : The Kingfisher

MEMBERS enjoyed their first indoor meeting of the new season when David Boag presented an excellent illustrated talk entitled “The kingfisher”.

David was the first person to photograph a kingfisher both underwater and at the nest underground.

It was enthralling to learn of the extraordinary lengths to which he had gone to achieve such feats.

A few days later, on a warm, sunny day, 13 members headed to Keyhaven Marshes on the Hampshire coast to see what migrants, waders and ducks were to be found on the lagoons and salt marsh.

At this peak time of the autumn migration season there is a good chance that something rare might be found and the group was only too aware that both grey phalarope and wryneck had been seen the day before.

Soon the group enjoyed really close views of the phalarope, a small wader which breeds in the high Arctic but is often seen swimming on the water rather than standing on mudflats.

This one was happy in a ditch by the main path and in full winter plumage of white with a little black rather than its brick red summer plumage, which gives rise to its American name of red phalarope.

There were also good numbers of recently arrived duck — mostly teal, wigeon and shoveler but also a few pintails.

Waders included curlew, oystercatcher, lapwing, redshank, greenshank, black-tailed godwit, turnstone and dunlin and, after much searching, a single curlew sandpiper was espied.

The highlight of other migrating species was a wheatear, which was also very close but, sadly, the wryneck (a rare species of woodpecker) remained elusive, although other visitors did see it that day.

The next meeting of the group will take place at Pangbourne village hall on Tuesday, October 10 at 8pm when David Darrell-Lambert will deliver an illustrated talk entitled “Unwrapping raptors — a guide to the identification of British raptors”. Visitors are very welcome.

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