A New Resident Kingfisher

As you may already know, kingfisher sightings at Montrose Basin are more common outside of their breeding season. We can see them daily from the visitor centre from around August through to March, but once breeding season begins, they become much more elusive and stick to riverbanks to raise two or three broods of kingfisher chicks.

Now that breeding season is coming to a close, our kingfisher sightings are on the increase again. At the beginning of July, we were very excited to see an adult female using the usual fishing perches in front of the visitor centre. This was possibly the same individual that we had all last season – kingfishers are very territorial and tend to claim feeding areas.

This was our first sighting of a kingfisher since breeding season began in March 2019 (this is a digiscoped photo so these are the exact views you’ll get from the visitor centre!).

For the remainder of July, we only saw this adult female a few more times, but August has marked the beginning of daily kingfisher sightings again! And this time it isn’t an adult female – it’s a juvenile.

You can tell whether a kingfisher is male or female by the colour of its bill – males’ bills are all black, while females’ bills are red on the lower half. This red starts from the base of the bill and extends to the tip as the kingfisher gets older.

For comparison – a male kingfisher seen in 2017.

This week, we’re delighted to say that we’ve been seeing this young kingfisher every day in front of the visitor centre. She’s really gotten into a routine! The dreadful weather yesterday didn’t even put her off as she made an appearance in the late afternoon.

Our new resident kingfisher. Notice just the touch of red on the lower half of the bill! © Ron Mitchell
© Ron Mitchell

Just as we’re writing this blog, the kingfisher is fishing from its favourite perch in front of the centre. It’s been difficult to tear our eyes away from her!

We’re open every day 10:30am-5pm, so make sure to pay us a visit if you want to see our new resident kingfisher settling in.

Joanna Peaker

Visitor Centre Assistant Manager

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Preface

As you may already know, kingfisher sightings at Montrose Basin are more common outside of their breeding season. We can see them daily from the visitor centre from around August …

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