The elusive bird made a surprise appearance at Grimsargh Wetlands
A stunning but elusive bird has been spotted for the first time in a decade at a Lancashire wetland reserve.
Volunteer photographer Richard Moss has been photographing wildlife at Grimsargh Wetlands, near Preston, for the past 10 years, and on Monday (October 3) for the first time, he was able to snap a Kingfisher.
Kingfishers are small unmistakable bright blue and orange birds of slow moving or still water. They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the water’s surface. According to the RSPB there are between 3,800-6,400 breeding pairs in the UK.
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Kingfishers are a small bird and despite their colours can be quite inconspicuous. They are also shy and easily spooked into flight, hence why they aren’t often seen.
They are vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses. Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe.
They are also listed as a Schedule 1 species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act offering them additional protection, as they are particularly vulnerable to habitat destruction due primarily to river pollution, especially those near industrial towns and cities. Such heavily polluted rivers tend not to be home to significant populations of fish, and hence do not attract kingfishers.
Andrew Small, Trustee at Grimsargh Wetlands Trust, said: “When we saw the image of the Kingfisher that our volunteer photographer Richard Moss had captured, we were thrilled. Sightings of Kingfishers are rare, and in all his visits to the Wetlands in the past ten years, Richard hasn’t seen one.
“They probably visit the wetlands more than we realise – mostly around this time of year when water levels are high but are seen mostly in central and southern England. They are becoming less common further north, so this is an important sighting and has been logged with East Lancashire Ornithologists Club.
“Kingfishers are known to be vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation – whether pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses – so we believe this sighting to be testament to the work to preserve Grimsargh Wetlands as a wetland habitat over the past five years.
“Throughout this time significant work has been carried out across the site, including work on the central Island Lake to introduce a sluice, allowing us to control the depth of water. This has resulted in the creation of three unique wetland habitats from which Kingfishers canbenefit. We hope this brightly coloured visitor comes again soon!”
Grimsargh Wetlands is one of Lancashire’s youngest nature reserves, made up of three former reservoirs which have become a haven for wildlife.
- 16:45, 4 OCT 2022
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