The beauty of the kingfisher

A Kingfisher

A Kingfisher

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This week’s beautiful study of a kingfisher on the Esk, has been sent in by my friend Mike Thrower, a familiar figure with his long lens camera always at the ready.

Mike says: “The kingfishers have done well this year on the River Esk (Penicuik area) and are thinking about a third brood. I have watched and seen kingfishers on the Esk for over 30 years now but in that time there have been gaps of up to five years that they have gone missing.

“Last year was a terrible year for them. The pair I watched, which I believe is the same pair as this year, picked a nice high sandy bank beside 300+ year old beech trees. After all the rain and flooding, those trees and the land up to 30 feet back from the edge of the banking are now gone.

“The power of last year’s floods was tremendous. The kingfisher failed to breed at least three times I know of.

“This year they have not only been successful but have raised two broods up to now. She looks like she is about to raise a third brood, a great successful comeback story.

“Kingfishers are a dream subject and this pair took over two months preparation to get the images I wanted.”

Mike’s observations mirror the situation on many rivers where Kingfishers are now a regular sight as they flash past in a neon blue blur.

In my boyhood they were very scarce, mainly due to egg collecting and industrial and agricultural pollution.

Tighter controls on all three have ensured a sustained come back.

It would be wrong to suggest kingfishers are totally back to all their historical haunts, but with folk like Mike watching out for them, they have a good chance of making it.