Kingfisher nesting bank built by Regents Canal Limehouse

Fans of Wapping’s Kevin the Kingfisher will be delighted to hear that a new nesting bank for Kingfishers has been built by the Regent’s Canal at Limehouse, only 50m north of Limehouse Marina.

Our Wildlife Rangers saw this peculiar looking structure several times on their extended patrols into Limehouse and were baffled as to its purpose.IMG_7552


First thoughts were that it was a pillbox for defence against invasion by some as yet unidentified foreign threat. Then the Rangers read their copy of the Tower Habitats newsletter and realised who the structure was for.

By Phil Williams, CC BY-SA 2.0,
A military pillbox – nothing to do with kingfishers. By Phil Williams, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Apparently Kingfishers are regularly seen along the Regent’s Canal and other waterways in Tower Hamlets in winter – as was Kevin – but they tend to fly off before the start of the breeding season. So no great increase in the local Kingfisher population.

Not rocket science as to why this is – the lack of river banks in the borough. River banks are ideal for kingfishers as they can burrow into the banks to create their nest and do some fishing from the front door.

The Council’s Sustainable Development Team sorted out the funding for the artificial bank just on the edge of the Brunton Wharf estate.

The Regent’s Canal is just right at this point as it is both wide and reasonably undisturbed. Tower Hamlets Homes and local residents were up for it so the Friends of Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, working with Grounded Ecotherapy, were commissioned to build the bank.

The nesting bank is made of concrete then filled with tightly-packed soft sand which is ideal for Kingfishers to burrow into. The overhanging roof protects the exposed face of soft sand from predators such as foxes and rats and the like. This is also why there is no vegetation growing on the nesting bank as yet, to stop the rats climbing up.

The bank was completed in February 2016, in time for this year’s nesting season. Now all we have to do is wait.

And the other good thing is that you can see the bank from the Commercial Road as it goes over the Regent’s Canal at Limehouse (just past Tesco Express).

You can see the Kingfishers nest from the Commercial Road
You can see the Kingfishers nest from the Commercial Road

Which is also useful as our Rangers know from their own experience that Kingfisher spotting can take hours and supplies are always needed.

But it is always worth the wait to see a Kingfisher, however long it takes.

If anyone has seen any Kingfishers burrowing into the new bank please let the rest of us know.

Now then Kevin, where are you?

Off again!
Off again!

For more information

%d bloggers like this: