Regular readers of the blog will know over the year I have failed to see kingfishers at the local patch lake the Great Melton reservoir and only a couple of days ago I was hoping for a sighting to complete my new bird every month on the Hethersett patch challenge. The sighting of one of the regular king fishers is not for me just a this year challenge but a four year gap since I moved to the area. My most recent visit to the fishing lake was as usual relatively quiet with token singing by some of the local robins who are warming up for their Christmas card appearances. I made use of the one public vantage point to the lake and the recently purchased Freedom trail Ohio stool. I am very impressed with this surprisingly comfortable lightweight seat and it is ideal for the sit and wait moments required for hunting elusive birdlife. Aside from three human anglers present the first avian fisherman was a young grey heron skirting the banks of the lake.
The heron soon grew skittish and left leaving only a moorhen for company. After a few minutes there was a splash and from a distance there looked like a great crested grebe but on closer inspection it turned out to be the serpentine form of a fishing cormorant. The cormorant lapped the lake a couple of times and its underwater antics disturbed a few of the local mallards that were clearly spooked when it popped up from underwater in their locality.
Whilst trying to get some decent photos of the cormorant and failing a flash of orange caught my eye and my brain told me that there was a kestrel hovering over the lake. Clearly unused to any other hovering bird it was a little while before I realised what I was watching. A big male kingfisher was feeding in the middle of the lake and soon took his catch off to a willow tree to eat. He made a number of repeat trips before eventually disappearing in a flash of blue fire.
The image above comes courtesy of twitter account @Lophophanes taken today in Gosforth park with a more obliging bird than mine. The walk home revealed very few birds other than feeding woodpigeons and doves and the occasional bluetit.. With the fields now muddy and flat it was easy to spot the recent sparrowhawk kill zones that explained the nervous nature of the pigeons.
The classic circle of feathers that identifies a sparrowhawk kill.
The weekend looks like it might involve some travelling away from the patch with a Blyth’s Pipit making a MEGA appearance at Stiffkey and a planned birding walk at Holt on Sunday in the second of a series of Birding Walks beyond Hethersett not forgetting the lure of the ospreys at Lyng and the black tern at Holkham.