Rural Reading: Kingfishers bring flash of colourBy Adrian Lawson
April 16, 2012
I had a really busy few days over the Easter weekend, so I took the opportunity on the Tuesday to get out, relax and listen for the migrant songbirds that I had expected to turn up while I was away.
I followed the canal back river towards Burghfield, but very little had changed since my visit a week before – the birds I expected were nowhere to be seen or heard.
The leaves of the flag iris were a few inches taller and there were many more celandines in flower.
After walking for half an hour I found a nice sunny patch to sit while the dogs went for a little paddle.
Normally a fisherman would sit in this spot, but the season for fishing the river has finished for a few months.
The best bit about fishing is the excuse to sit and watch the river flow.
The dogs paddled and drank, the currents of the river swirled past, ducking under a fallen tree and scouring out the riverbank on the opposite side.
It was extremely peaceful, but the peace didn’t last long.
I heard a scream and up the river came a pair of kingfishers, one chasing the other.
One stopped on a branch just to my left, and called loudly, bobbing up and down in agitation.
The second returned low over the water shrieking as it did so, and the bird on the branch took off in pursuit.
The kingfisher is a stunning bird, and views like this, in bright sunlight, aren’t that common.
We didn’t move and I guess we blended in. Only Millie raised her head at the birds as they called, but I sat transfixed as the pair chased up and down the river.
I was treated to some of the best views I have ever had of these beautiful birds.
I know that sitting patiently is the best way to enjoy the countryside – if I had just keep walking, I might have missed this completely.