The old year ended with heavy rain and floods and it’s still not possible to walk to Cotterstock along the river. The town bridge is busy with sightseers looking out across the flooded meadows. People excitedly tell me they’ve spotted a kingfisher along the cut by the bridge – a lovely antidote to lockdown.
It’s true that you are likely to see a kingfisher from the bridge at any time. But when the main river is in flood the stiller water in the cut beside the bridge may be less murky, making it easier for birds to spot fish below the surface. The exception is when it freezes over, but it’s not cold enough for that yet.
There’s a favourite perch in a small tree just past the town boathouse. It’s the first place I look when I set out for a walk. There was a kingfisher there today, a female. You can’t tell the difference between the sexes with the naked eye as both are brilliantly coloured. But with binoculars or a zoom lens you can see that the female has pink running along the bottom of her beak. She was very still and stayed there for several minutes while people walked to and fro behind me.