Thursday, 15 October 2015

Kingfisher Bonanza at Amwell

1st/2nd October 2015

I have been going down to Amwell for several years, certainly long before the James Hide was built, and have spent many hours in this double-decker hide. During this time I have been rewarded with Great Reed Warbler, Bittern, Marsh Harrier, Water Rail and Jack Snipe, but very few Kingfishers, and certainly none on the nearby perches for more than a few seconds.

In fact today I was telling my tale of woe about the lack of Kingfishers to another visitor to the hide when one suddenly came in calling and sat on a nearby post allowing a few shots to be taken. Somewhat taken aback with this success, I ventured to mention that I hadn't seen a Golden Eagle from this hide either, but that didn't seem to have the same effect.

Flushed with my success I went back to the hide the following day and as I slowly opened the door Brian Gleeson was already in the hide and his shutter was doing overtime. I therefore left the door ajar and crouched down to get some shots before the Kingfisher took flight. A little later a Kingfisher returned to the perch and allowed a few more shots to be taken. So, were these all the same bird?

No, at least two birds were involved. The bird shown in the first photo was photographed on the first day and is a female with orange on the lower mandible. The second photo is a male and is quite distinctive as it has lost all the feathers on its chest, otherwise it seemed quite healthy. The remaining photos were all taken on the second today and are probably the same female as the first day. On the lower photos the shape of the orange on the lower mandible looks different, but could just be the angle and the light.

So there you have it. Kingfishers at Amwell are like buses. You wait for ages then they all come along at once!!!

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