By CleanSteve

My first kingfisher sighting this year

As the weather was still so good, with warm sunshine, no breeze and clear blue sky, I decided I'd go down to the river and see if I could spot a kingfisher. Our local venue for such sightings is at Capel's Mill, where the River Frome flows under the huge railway viaduct.  Before springtime the trees' leaves are yet to appear which allows much more light onto the river banks.

When I arrived a man was throwing small tree branches in to the river for his dog to chase. Common sense suggested this would not be conducive to quiet bird watching. Luckily they moved on fairly soon and I could walk to my usual spot opposite the steep earth bank below the beech trees where a pair of kingfishers have nested for some years. 

I saw a white-throated dipper on a rock in the river but it vanished on my arrival. I am beginning to think that the good intentions of the local wildlife groups  who have been carrying out work on Fromebanks to make it a nature reserve, have lead to countless more visitors walking the paths and this disturbs some of the wildlife. I suppose my presence is also to blame as well.

I waited for an hour watching for more dippers and a possible sighting of a kingfisher but saw only more common birds such as blackbirds, wrens and pigeons, although there was a lot of bird singing high in the trees, though I'm hopeless at recognising their songs. The gloom was lifted by a treecreeper scaling a beech tree on the opposite bank.

I headed away, back to the little footbridge where a footpath crosses the river. I decided to just stand and watch for a few minutes. Suddenly I saw the iridescent blue rump of a kingfisher flying downstream as it emerged from under the bridge and on to where its nest area is hidden away behind holly bushes. I was elated. I trained my camera and waited and waited for it to emerge, thinking it was in its nest.

A slight disturbance on a small branch made me look more closely and then I saw in the distance the vivid blue and orange colours which seem unique to kingfishers. I took some pictures on the off chance they would be useable and I'm pleased to say this one was, despite the very heavy crop. I was by now delighted, .......  and eventually moved away in a very cheery mood.

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