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Old 20th February 2015
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Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

I have just stumbled across two kingfishers in an industrial part of the Portsmouth area.

I was not expecting to see them in this dirty, industrial location. There are a lot of freshwater estuaries in the Portsmouth area feeding into the sea and this pair of kingfishers frequent the freshwater section before it joins the sea.

I had assumed kingfishers liked freshwater streams and rivers so I was amazed to see them so close to the sea. I have seen them in the same location on more than one occasion now. They are on private land with very steep banks but clearly visible if you know where to look.

This pair are not living in an idyllic, picturesque location. They are living on an industrial estate, in an inaccessible location with rubbish and debris thrown and dumped into the stream. They are surrounded by noise and lorries on a daily basis but I assume they are staying because they have found a good source of food.

I mentioned this to someone who said if I intended to go back and photograph them, I would need a Schedule 1 permit from Natural England.

I don't know where the nest is but I have observed them perched over the estuary on the side of privately owned land which is clearly visible from the public land I use on occasion.

Any comments or thoughts would be very much appreciated.
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Old 20th February 2015
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

This page suggests you only need a permit if you're going to be disturbing the nest. I can't see how anything or anyone can stop you taking photo's of a bird from across a river..
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

Many thanks for that link themosttogain - much appreciated.

I was directed to this page by another helpful photographer

http://www.wildlifelens.co.uk/kingfisher-photography/

Perhaps the interpretation evolves around "disturbing the nest" - which I do not plan to do.

However, neither do I want to be fined for making a basic error of interpretation.
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Old 20th February 2015
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

Is it worth giving Natural England a call anyway? If you are lucky you may find yourself speaking to an enthusiast who might have all sorts of helpful suggestions. (Caveat - I have never had any dealings with Natural England so don't know whether they are friendly, or full of jobsworths).

Also, if it is on industrial land are you likely to have other problems with gaining access?

Sounds like it's worth pursuing. I'll look forward to the pictures

Ciao ... John
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Old 20th February 2015
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

You're not allowed to eat them! Only the Queen can eat kingfishers.
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Old 20th February 2015
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

I have two permits to photograph birds and mammals and also to photograph at a nest site with a hide if necessary. There was no problem getting a permit I spoke with the department of environment wildlife officer, he sent me the forms and all was well. This is my fourth year renewal is straightforward a yearly return of areas used and birds seen is sent in each December. I find it useful as on occasion I ask permission to enter property and the licence helps to smooth the way. It also helps when well meaning twitchers query your actions, official paperwork works wonders as you get useful info on other places to go to get good shots. There is no charge over here in N. Ireland for this licence.
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikie John View Post
Is it worth giving Natural England a call anyway? If you are lucky you may find yourself speaking to an enthusiast who might have all sorts of helpful suggestions. (Caveat - I have never had any dealings with Natural England so don't know whether they are friendly, or full of jobsworths).

Also, if it is on industrial land are you likely to have other problems with gaining access?

Sounds like it's worth pursuing. I'll look forward to the pictures

Ciao ... John
Many thanks Bikie John -I have sent them an email just to clarify things. The potential fine is up to 5k so I need to be sure.
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

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Originally Posted by Wee man View Post
I have two permits to photograph birds and mammals and also to photograph at a nest site with a hide if necessary. There was no problem getting a permit I spoke with the department of environment wildlife officer, he sent me the forms and all was well. This is my fourth year renewal is straightforward a yearly return of areas used and birds seen is sent in each December. I find it useful as on occasion I ask permission to enter property and the licence helps to smooth the way. It also helps when well meaning twitchers query your actions, official paperwork works wonders as you get useful info on other places to go to get good shots. There is no charge over here in N. Ireland for this licence.
Very many thanks Wee man - that's brilliant.
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

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Originally Posted by ian p View Post
You're not allowed to eat them! Only the Queen can eat kingfishers.
Tell that to the mink on our river!
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

Photographing Kingfishers is very popular at the moment although this is the first I have heard of a need for a permit just to photograph them, and I suspect the same is true of those that do this. I would suggest that no permit is required, and who would want to disturb a nest anyway?
I am sure that is illegal.
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

The term disturb a nest is misleading it is disturbing the birds some of which will abandon the nest if people are in the area of the nest. The advice which comes with the licence even goes as far as advising that if a hide is used it should be set up and left for a few days and then when used TWO people should go to the hide
and one leave and the photographer stays. It seems birds seeing one leaving will consider the hide empty. People walking around the nest can lead to the nest and any eggs or young being abandoned and this is what they are trying to avoid.
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

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Originally Posted by Wee man View Post
The term disturb a nest is misleading it is disturbing the birds some of which will abandon the nest if people are in the area of the nest. The advice which comes with the licence even goes as far as advising that if a hide is used it should be set up and left for a few days and then when used TWO people should go to the hide
and one leave and the photographer stays. It seems birds seeing one leaving will consider the hide empty. People walking around the nest can lead to the nest and any eggs or young being abandoned and this is what they are trying to avoid.
At Forest Farm in north Cardiff there is a Kingfisher pond where a lot of local photographers go. There is a proper hide there and therefore I guess few if any of the togs have permits.
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

Very many thanks everyone. Please can I stress I am totally new to photographing birds.

I would never dream of disturbing a nest or if I knew where it was, I would never even go near it through commonsense of risk of disturbing nesting birds.

At work we cease to cut estate hedges when there is a risk of nesting birds etc etc.

This is an odd situation. Anyone walking along the public footpath can see the birds as they hunt over the freshwater stream. They perch and wait on the bank of the private land on the opposite side of the stream some 20 metres away.

They also fly at high speed over the water and are fantastic to see as they dart around.

The public footpath is in regular use - cyclists, walkers, dog walkers, lots of children go there as it is not near any main roads. There are many dogs off the lead but they cannot chase the birds as they have no access to the other side of the stream.

They local joyriders often steal and set fire to cars and motorcycles in this area too as it is so remote.

It is not a beautiful location. People cycle to work along this public footpath as it can save a long round trip and is short cut to the big industrial estate. So it is a busy, well used footpath.

I can't imagine the kingfishers have made their nest on the side of the bank where there is a public footpath. I assume they have made their home on the relatively quiet, privately owned side of the stream but I really don't know for sure.

I do not wish to photograph them at or anywhere near their nest but seeing them dart and fish from the public footpath side of the stream is an amazing sight.

I struggle to believe that it could be classed as disturbing them if I took some photos from the public footpath side of the stream - without blocking the footpath of course - as so many people use the footpath on a regular daily basis.

The kingfishers have chosen to use this stretch of water and "accept" the passing foot traffic so I assume they feel relatively safe in this location as I have seem them there now for a while.

The width and isolation of the stream seem to give them a sense of "let's make a home here" and I would do nothing to put that at risk but neither do I want to end up in trouble for photographing them if I need a licence.

I'll see what advice Natural England can give me and I promise to share it here on the forum.
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Old 20th February 2015
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

Quote:
Originally Posted by themosttogain View Post
This page suggests you only need a permit if you're going to be disturbing the nest. I can't see how anything or anyone can stop you taking photo's of a bird from across a river..
That would be my hope too but I haven't got 5k in the bank for a fine if I'm wrong
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Old 20th February 2015
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Re: Photographing Kingfishers - Permit required?

This may help as well:

http://birdersagainst.org/photograph...edule-1-birds/

The key words are: "intentionally disturb" - many nesting birds are disturbed accidentally which is unlikely to result in prosecution. It seems reasonable that if you know that there is a nest nearby in the nesting season then it may be unwise to attempt to photograph unless you have a licence.

One particular nest site near me is in a bank of a narrow stream on the opposite bank of which runs a public footpath so the birds are habituated to the presence of humans. However, although I go to this area to photograph Banded Demoiselles and mayfly etc. I try not to linger anywhere near the nest.

David
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