August - Part II - Warrens

August Bank Holiday Weekend.

The Kingfisher Blog ... Saturday morning.

It's Saturday thankfully,  it's a little overcast but the forecast is for sunny weather around mid morning, which will be nice. I don't have too much time today, it's my wedding anniversary and I am going into London later today with my wife to see a show in the West End and too have a bite to eat etc ...

So it works out great that I had just clicked the camera onto the tripod, barely pulled the camouflaged netting over the top of the lens and sat in my hide chair when the Kingfisher comes flying down stream and onto the perch.

I had too look twice as it had arrived so quick, I thought I was seeing things. I couldn't have timed it better if I was able to pull a Kingfisher from my pocket and put it on the perch myself.

Once again, the Kingfisher gets straight down to action and pulls a large fish straight from the stream. It is a decent sized fish, the good thing about catching such a nice meal is that once the Kingfisher has managed to swallow it, it would be unlikely to move for a while and would wait for it to be properly digested before he would move on.

Now here's the thing that worries me a little, I noticed that the Kingfisher has managed to consume some kind of fine string / cotton type material. Is it a fine fishing line ? But it is clearly visible today, and I am thinking it may of come from this very fish that may of already had it attached in someway when it was caught.

You can make out the very fine hair type material in the above picture, possibly trailing out of the fishes mouth. In the following pictures the line is more prominent and can be seen in the Kingfishers bill and trailing down it's body.

I will keep an eye on it over the next couple of days to see if the Kingfisher has managed to get rid of it somehow, possibly when it regurgitates his next pellet.

The Kingfisher stays still on his perch for a full 20 minutes, not really moving at all. The big catch takes its time to digest and the Kingfisher makes the most of this time to rest, and to watch the stream just meander on past below him.

Eventually he gets the energy for a few feather shakes, adjusts his plumage to ensure all is in order and jumps perch across to my side of the stream.

At one point I had the feeling there was another Kingfisher in close proximity, although I couldn't hear or see another bird. The body language of the Kingfisher become quite excitable, he was clearly watching something that was behind my hide and was making himself tall and thin on his perch. This is a sign of confrontation, a threat posture to another male or used by the male if they are not at ease in the presence of another female. Unfortunately nothing turned up and there was no other interaction.

I am still really hopeful for a female to move in before the end of the summer, just so we can get an established pair in place for the Spring.

It's been a great morning, I have only been at the hide for 45 minutes and have 300 images to take home with me (I will choose 5 or 6 from these and delete the rest). At this rate I can get home in time to watch the Arsenal lunch time kick off and then zip into London !

I didn't visit the hide at all on Sunday, the weather wasn't the best so decided to give it a miss. The weather for the Bank Holiday Monday was even worse, we had torrential rain all day long, dark skies and a miserable North wind to add insult to injury.

I did go down to the hide at 4 PM though, and stayed for two hours ... but I didn't get a single visit. I wasn't really surprised to be honest, it was really miserable weather, the light was poor and it wasn't great conditions.

I did spend this time planning a few new camera positions for wider shots that would incorporate more of the stream, I look forward to trying this out at the weekend.

August Bank Holiday Weekend.

The Kingfisher blog ... Friday evening.

It's Bank Holiday weekend, our last long holiday weekend before Christmas which is pretty depressing in itself. Of course it's typical holiday weather, as I look out of the window whilst updating the blog, (Sunday evening) it's a slate grey sky and raining !

I have been visiting the hide over the weekend at different times of the day as the light varies dramatically from morning, to afternoon, to evening. Plus the staggered times gives me a greater understanding how often the Kingfisher visits the perch through out the day and what he gets up to.

It's early Friday evening, for photography wise, this is my favourite time for visiting the stream. When the sun is shining in the afternoon, it beams down from behind the hide and projects a bright warm light down stream and onto the perches. It's a lovely time to  be watching the Kingfisher and a great opportunity to get some nice detailed images.

Mind you, I have been waiting two hours before the Kingfisher showed up, but it's always worth the wait.

The Kingfisher doesn't waste much time to start hunting when he arrives onto the perch on the opposite side of the stream. He cleverly spots a potential target within just a few seconds of arriving. With a couple of hi-pitched calls, which I feel he lets out in excitement and anticipation of spotting his prey, he darts into the water with pin point precision, and returns to his post with his prize.

You can literally see the shock on the fishes face as he is wrenched from the water in the vice like grip of the Kingfishers bill. The fish has clearly had better days !

I have been blogging on my local Kingfishers for 8 months now. I am sure during this time I have probably used every superlative I could possibly think of to describe the privilege of having access to these wonderful birds on private land, and today is no different. The light is amazing this evening and the Kingfisher is looking incredible, perched just a few metres in front of my hide.

The Kingfisher seems to be enjoying the evening warmth from the late sunshine, looking content on the perch and paying little attention of what is going on around him. 

With the recent fledging of the buzzards across the stream, the young buzzards have been a a little bit of a nuisance for the kingfishers. Always posing that noisy threat in the background making the Kingfishers visits nervous and on edge. 

But today, the buzzards are out of sight and out of mind and this is making for a more relaxed and contented bird.

The Kingfisher is pulling fish out of the water with ease, the stream is clear and you can see the silty bottom of the stream from the hide, which makes it super easy for the Kingfisher for hunting.

It's good to know the stream is in such good condition that it's able to support a variety of healthy young fish, that in turn supports our Kingfisher.

The Kingfisher stays with me for twenty five minutes, it did take a long time getting here this evening to pay me a visit, but it always pays me back for the long wait.

It skips from perch to perch on each side of the stream, totally oblivious to the shutter noise from my camera and the lens following it around. Eventually he decides he has had enough and it is time to move on further down stream to patrol his territory.

With one last pose and he is gone ! I will be back tomorrow .... and fingers crossed, he will be too.

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