Yesterday I saw a kingfisher on the cut for the first time in months. A startling shock of blue-green back feathers, a beautiful, bright sunlit flash as I walked across the bridge. It looked like it might have landed on the near side among the shrubs at the water’s edge. In April I may have been able to pick it out, but in July the foliage made that all but impossible.
Later in the day I went back and sat for an hour on the bank opposite, looking back towards the bridge. There’s a dip in the bank where cattle go down to the water. It made a perfect seat amongst the warm leathery smell of dried cowpats.
Swallows or martins sometimes swarm here at the water’s edge, in search of mud or maybe the minerals that go with it. There were none that day, but a family of moorhens paddled about among the waterlilies to the right. Occasionally there was laughter from a hidden table of diners at the restaurant beyond the bridge. Blackbirds sang their lazy late afternoon song from nearby trees.
I looked across at the soft warm stone. Sand coloured blocks dotted with grey from the repairs of centuries, old ironworks left from jetties when freight was brought here by river. Long bolts stuck out which must once have fixed thick wooden planks, long since rotted and removed.
I once saw a kingfisher here, perched on one of the bolts – I had no camera then, but what a lovely image that would be. A good excuse, if any were needed, to come and spend time here again.