You can’t always get what you want

So said the Rolling Stones and for birdwatching it is certainly true. This summer I have been teased by Kingfishers. I had the pleasure of seeing three or four on my canoe trip down the Thames and was even able to get a picture with my old Fuji digital. I have also seen one at Barwick Ford as I passed through in the car. I know the river supports a population so I have set myself the challenge of getting a pleasing image of one of my local kingfishers.

My plan was to use a trick I’d seen on Springwatch a while back, namely to craft a suitable stick from a branch and extend it horizontally out from the bank as a perch over the water. I fashioned a suitable hazel branch, dressed myself in full camo gear and sought out an appropriate spot on the riverbank down towards the ford.

Two attempts and four hours of stake-out time have so far proved fruitless on the kingfisher front, but the visits have been rewarding in themselves for ‘just being in nature’ and observing a small area for a long time. My pole was visited by a ladybird, a comma butterfly basked on the leaves of ripening blackberry and a fledgling moorhen took an hour to pass along a 20 metre stretch of rivers edge, negotiating tunnels of branches, sedges and overhanging brambles, teasing it’s ever calling and remarkably patient parent with its ‘three steps forward, two back’ progress. Chaffinches and Tits passed through the trees and most dramatically against the clearest of blue skies, a buzzard passed overhead announcing its arrival with its evocative raptor call. It came back again, harried by a nagging crow a few minutes later, its late afternoon circuit curtailed by the attention.

These are resident birds to the area who first came to our attention two or three years ago. They are regular visitors above the village and we have seen five together this summer, suggesting the successful fledging of three young. It warms the heart to know the local ecosystem, under the good stewardship of our local farmers, can support the majesty of these birds. I have waited a long time to capture half decent shots of these wonderful birds and the pursuit of a kingfisher gave the opportunity.

….But if you try sometimes well you just might find
You get what you need

I think I did.

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