Kingfisher Watching at Kingsbury Water Park: An Afternoon of Birding in the West Midlands, UK

There are a number of bird hides around Kingsbury Water Park in the West Midlands. The Park is approached by a narrow track, passing both a children’s farm and a caravan park. A charge is made for car parking, but then there is a pleasant walk round a couple of lakes and alongside a canal. It is a lovely way to spend time with nature.

Take a Sunny Autumn Day

This particular day was September sunny. The blackberries were almost over, the vegetation drying back and the trees beginning to gently release their leaves. Migrants do stop by the lakes, and there were more ducks than usual in the groups on the water.

The hides overlook the back lake, and there was a huge group of lapwings. They could be seen circling above the hide: something had disturbed them. They settled down again, chatting among themselves. Several cormorants were also there, holding their wings out to the autumn sun. A small lone common sandpiper scurried about the water’s edge. Each small island held a group of companionable birds.

The Kingfisher Appears

A blur of blue hurtled across the scene. It was instantly recognisable as a kingfisher – there is nothing to compare to that colour. It flew across a couple more times, and then was sighted close to a hide further along.

The hide was packed with bird-watchers, from the amateur, sharing a pair of battered binoculars, to the expert, complete with digiscope kit. All were waiting for the next appearance of the star of the show.

 

And the kingfisher was certainly obliging. It was perching on a low branch overhanging the water. It hesitated for a moment – perhaps to allow the digiscoper to frame his shot then it dived with a splash into the water. It was such a quick movement that it was out again and off to the left of the frame of view in a moment.

The Kingfisher Returns

Then it was back, this time on a higher branch. It rested for a moment, perhaps selecting the perfect fish. Then again it touched the water and flew off.

This was a very hungry kingfisher. Perhaps it was feeding a late brood (kingfishers raise two to three broods a season), but he came back again and again. Sometimes he would sit motionless for a number of minutes, then with no apparent cue, would dive into the water and then fly off. The most amazing spectacle was that of the kingfisher hovering above the water for a couple of seconds before diving in.

It was an amazing and persistent hunter. The people in the hide changed, as those who had enjoyed the spectacle, unselfishly made way for those who wished to see it. Still the kingfisher hunted, sometimes disappearing from view for several minutes, only to return to its favourite branch.

Ballachy
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