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.
You are likely to see a kingfisher from the bridge at any time. But when the main river is in flood they may be attracted to the stiller water in the cut, as it’s less murky, making it easier to spot fish. The exception is when it freezes over. Luckily, 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.