Flashes of blue – a pair of rare treats
September 26, 2008
I have been ever so lucky this week to see flashes of blue.
The autumn always sees jays come out from the woodland, where they are often heard but seldom seen.
Now they collect acorns and fly off into the open to bury them.
Jays are big pink birds but they do have a spectacular flash of blue and black on the wings.
I have often wondered why a member of the normally sombre plumed crow family should evolve such flamboyant feathers but they have and they are great to watch.
Normally they are relatively distant and, being very canny birds, keep out of our way as much as they can.
I did, though, disturb one really close up, and was treated to a spectacular blue sparkle in a sunlit clearing as it flew off in alarm.
Imagine my delight when I found one of these amazing feathers lying on the ground a bit further along.
If I wore a cap I would stick it there, but at the moment it is sitting on my table at home.
The next flash of blue was spotted over the Thames at Thames Valley Park. Several times I heard a shrill whistle, and I knew what to look for, so it wasn’t a surprise when a kingfisher zoomed out from the reeds almost at my feet and sped across the river.
The river here is very broad and the speedy kingfisher took several seconds to fly across to the other side, and then after briefly settling it decided to fly along a bit, then a bit more and eventually it found a suitable perch and hid from view.
So I got more than the usual fleeting glimpse but being distant and on a cloudy day the iridescence didn’t show as well as it might have done.
I was thrilled because I hadn’t seen a kingfisher for weeks.
The very next day though I walked over a bridge over the Holy Brook, and in bright sunshine a kingfisher flew by and perched briefly on a rock, close up, shiny and as spectacular as any bird.
It lingered just long enough before leaving at speed and in the confines of the Holy Brook it was gone in a twinkling.
But even long after it had gone I had a blue flash etched into my memory, which I hope will last until I see another.