Down By The River-Kingfisher

Filed in Wildlife on Oct.02, 2010

I count myself very lucky in life to have seen and still see the wonderful moments in the natural world over the last thirty years of being an observer, a young birdwatcher in the YOC and now a wildlife photographer.  So over the last two months on a private stretch of the river Trent near my Staffordshire home I have had a wonderful time just sitting, hidden from view under a camouflaged hide by the river, watching the river go by with the odd fleeting glimpse of the Kingfisher. Gracing me with their presence every so often and to be honest when you least expect it.

A perfect example was the other day while I was trying to make myself a cup of coffee in a tiny one man hide, that only just fits in my 6f 2 inch frame, with my long lens and camera plus bag and provisions filling the hide like the back of a removal van, there is little or no room ‘to swing a cat’ as the saying goes.  The Kingfisher showed up right in front of me!  It took almost 10 minutes of the slowest movement possible to put things down and reach for my camera to capture the female who had just landed on a reedmace I had positioned in front of my hide.  Her tell tail signs of  tiny claw marks showing in the reedmace giving me vital clues of her previous presence on this particular place, while watching the river go by.

She has taken over this part of the river at the moment and with her orange part of her under bill growing everyday, she is developing before my very eyes.  It is lovely to watch her put those incredible fishing skills taught by her parents to great use..  Over the last few weeks though her parents, further down the river, have tried several times to move her and a male on and at times its so sad to watch as the male fledgling still at times begging for food in the face of real force from their once loving parents to move them off this already taken stretch of the river Trent, nature is beautiful but at times very cruel.

I briefly managed to capture this to the right of my hide, as the fledgling was being chased by the adult bird, she took solice in thick, natural vegetation along the riverbank, stood her ground almost in an act of defiance and defended herself by having a go back at her mother.  Amazing behaviour to witness and one that I hope will stand her in good stead for the future trails and tribulations that will be in store for her.

This stretch of the river Trent at the moment is lined with a thick and dense tree line, reflecting its colour onto the surface of the water with a jade-green colouring at the same time not allowing much light to penetrate the base of the riverbed. There is lots of other activity alongside my hide, Mallards  and a family of Yellow Wagtails keep me on my toes in the absenceof the Kingfisher as their call does in some parts resemble that of the Kingfisher, with a high pitched call,  piecing through the ever present noise of the flowing freshwater.  Constantly on the move, feeding, cleaning themselves as they seem never to stop for a moment.

I have mentioned in a previous post of this unique place, where an old bridge has fallen into the river and forms the back drop to my images. I am hoping to try and photograph over the coming weeks the Kingfishers  and how they pass through this area, using the old blue bricks as perches and fish from them all the time as thousands of gallons of water pass by.  It really is a story within a story for me and one I hope lasts  for a good while because I have really become very fond of these Kingfishers, more so this fiery female who brightens up my day down by the river ever time I see her.

I plan on turning this into a local on going project where hopefully I will be able to capture the breeding adults behaviours and courtships throughout the year in this private and unvisited area of the river Trent where I have had so much joy working on this from scratch, watching and setting up my hide, only to have to move it to a different place several times a week at first, due to the Kingfisher’s having no set pattern.  I knew that these Kingfishers hadn’t even been seen before on this private piece of land let alone photographed.  I feel very privileged and grateful to have come across these amazing birds where I hope to capture them going about their lives as I have done over the last two months.  A real labour of love for me where I will update my blog on my future adventures down by the river, many thanks.

  1. Jillian said:

    Your photos are amazing especially the Kingfisher. The kingfisher is my favorite bird. I have a 16 page stamp exhibit on the Kingfisher. There colours are just so vivid.
    New Zealand

  2. craig said:

    Thank you Jillian for your comments, they are beautiful birds. Good luck with your stamp exhibit


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