I walked the first part of the riverbank this morning with a strong west wind roaring in my ears, thinking about kingfishers and where they might go to fish out of the wind. Maybe the calm stretch that is sheltered by Assiter’s Wood on the far bank would be a good place?
I heard some calling the moment I got there. Lots of birds make sounds that are similar, but there’s a silvery tone to kingfisher calls which is unmistakable. It became a tiny stream of urgent syncopated notes. There had to be a pair close by…
It took a while to spot it, but there was a familiar blue shape half-hidden among the twigs opposite. Another flew by and both disappeared into some ivy. They were fishing alright, just not for fish! Giddy as teenagers at a school disco, flitting up higher into the trees, waiting, then chasing, then hiding again.
It had to be a pair. Two males would have chased faster and further, zigzagging out towards the limits of their territory. This was pretty coy stuff. I walked on, delighted to have seen them, and left them to it.
Later, back in town, I passed an ivy covered bush where a blackcap was very quietly sub-singing to itself, practising for the spring and summer to come. It’s likely it was over-wintering, as I wouldn’t expect the migrants to arrive for a couple of weeks at least. There was no mistaking that sound though – no other bird has that beautiful tone and articulation. An inspiring day, and a reminder of just how much of a blessing ears can be in connecting with nature!