Kingfisher hints and tips of where to spot one!

At this time of year, kingfisher sightings increase tenfold with many visitors enjoying fantastic views of this elusive bird. But how do you know when to look for them? What do you look for? And where is the best place to search?

The first thing is patience, you need a lot of it. If you know the regular jaunts of the kingfisher you are best to be prepared to wait to see it. Sometimes, it's down to sheer luck, others it is a great deal of waiting and hoping. That said, the kingfisher that take up home on our site are regular visitors to the saline lagoon. Here's some of the points that are favoured on our reserve:

  • Keep an eye out from the Lagoon View hide over the lake where they will regularly perch on posts before diving in to fish. They will return to the same spot continuously if successful and these perching points give them great views of the water and their potential prey underneath the surface...
  • The other side of the Lagoon View hide is our reedbed and kingfisher pool, another spot that kingfisher will often perch to hunt or preen. This also provides a lovely backdrop with potential sightings of other birds in the reeds as well as along the river towards the west.
  • The gully is also a great place to see kingfisher. That famous flash of vibrant blue can often be seen flitting upstream towards our collection areas - keep an eye just as you head through the fox-proof gates in between the saline lagoon and Wader Lake as you never know when you might spot one.
  • The river Wear itself is a potential place to spot kingfisher. Listen for their strident calls as they flit along the water way. If you're lucky you may see them perched along the edges of the river.
  • Our amphibian and dragonfly ponds have also been known to see kingfisher from time to time, so pay an extra moment in this area looking through Window on the Wear and any other spots that offer points for a kingfisher to rest and hunt from.
  • Northumbrian Water hide has been partial to the occasional kingfisher sighting. Look to the perching points for possible hunting activity!
  • While not as common, the Stream channel just in front of our centre building does get sightings. Listen out for their call as they fly low over the stream, often landing in the large willow tree towards the side.

We would always encourage you to chat to other visitors - chances are our regular members will have seen one, or be looking to spot one themselves - sharing knowledge is so important and something that can offer great insight and additional knowledge sharing.

We love seeing any photos you may take, so please do share them with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter @WWTWashington!

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