U3A Thames Valley Network Riverside Project (RP)

Kingfisher Recording & Photography Subproject

(By Jon Cole, Wokingham U3A Natural History & Environment Group)

Kingfisher recording

One task that arose from an RP planning meeting at Goring was, at the request of Dick Mayon-White (Thames Valley Warden), to record as many sightings of kingfishers along the Thames and its tributaries as possible during the term of the RP.

I have been asked to lead this subproject as part of the Natural History (Wildlife) group activities.  The intention of this note is therefore to describe how to record all the encounters with kingfishers that members have had so far (so records from 2010 are OK) or will be lucky enough to have throughout the course of the RP this year.  While the exercise will not be wholly scientific in method it will hopefully result in important records of Kingfisher activity within our area especially after the recent cold winters have a negative effect on these beautiful birds throughout Britain. 

Check out these websites for more information Ėhttp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7067808.ece  and http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/k/kingfisher/survival_and_threats.aspx and http://www.suite101.com/content/kingfishers-may-be-struggling-after-the-uks-long-cold-winter-a244995.

So, if you see a kingfisher when out walking, jogging, cycling, or just messing about on the river, please note down what you see and send the information to me by any of the means given below.

The details we would ideally like to have for each sighting are listed on the recording worksheet on the following page.  There may seem quite a lot to write down, but you are not expected to be able to record all of it, so please donít let the list put you off.  The top four rows are the most important, but a map reference would be very helpful if you are able to include it.  However, the more details we have the more valuable each record will be.  I will note down everything onto a spreadsheet and get this added to the website on a regular basis. The records will be presented at the Study School in Wellington College in October. 

How and where to send the observation records:

1.      Download this document from the website; fill in the details on the worksheet on page 2 then e‑mail as an attachment (instructions on the sheet) to jon@cole87.freeserve.co.uk.  If you prefer, print out a few copies of the form to take with you when you go out so that you can use it in the field to write down the details of your record, then do one of the following:

2.      send the information by e-mail just as written text to the above address, or

3.      phone the details directly to Jon on 07875 475 788, or

4.      post to  Jon Cole, 10 Deerhurst Avenue, Winnersh, Wokingham, Berks., RG41 5NL

Photographic competition

The purpose of this is to simply photograph a kingfisher (not the habitat).  However, simply is definitely the wrong word as these birds are notoriously difficult to photograph and you will need a lot of luck and patience.  So, this will be a major challenge for anyone up for it.  In recognition of this best photos be displayed at the Wellington College event.  I am proposing that photos be judged by members of the RP photographic group and small (sorry) prizes awarded for the best. 


Best of luck.


Kingfisher Observation Recording Worksheet

For each record fill in as many of the information details as you can as requested in the table below.  This is a Microsoft Word document (it will also open in Microsoft Works or Open Office). Just type in the details and re-save the file under a new name using the ĎSave Así function, e.g. add a number or a letter to the original file name, so the original is still available to use again.  Then attach the file to an e-mail and send to Jon Cole at jon@cole87.freeserve.co.uk. Alternatively just print this out and use as a guide to send the information by other means (listed on page 1).

If you canít open this page into your computer please give Jon a call on 07875 475 7878.

If you have photographs that you are willing to share with the group then please also e-mail these to Jon (your copyright will be protected).

Record type









Behaviour 1



OS Map reference


Where observed from 2


Weather conditions 3



Water bank Habitat 4



Recorder details

Name of Recorder


U3A Affiliation/Region
e.g. Chess Valley


Other information

Are photographs of the sighting area available? Yes/No


Has a competition photograph been submitted? Yes/No


Additional Comments




1    Brief description of what the bird(s) was(were) doing, e.g. whether flying, fishing, feeding, mating etc.

2    Observation point, e.g. from bank, boat, building, tree-house, hang-glider etc.

3    Brief description, e.g. was it sunny, cloudy bright, cloudy dull, raining, snowing, warm, cold etc.

4    Brief description, e.g. open path, woodland, scrub, pasture, arable crop, rural habitation, urban habitation.