Kingfishers, figs and a pocket watch

Late summer is a great time to see kingfishers when the young leave the nest and head off to find their own territory.


At sunrise I met a friend on the salt marsh and we walked the length of the embankment. It was a late August morning but a chill in the air declared the arrival of an early autumn.  A handsome roe buck watched our progress from the safety of the nature reserve before bounding off with characteristic zeal though the tall meadow pasture.

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We headed for the creek where two days earlier I had stalked a kingfisher.. .

I had got quite close to this kingfisher as I crept through the salt marsh and negotiated the muddy gullies –  narrow but deep mantraps hidden beneath the grass waiting to embrace a carelessly placed boot or two. I noticed that my pocket watch was missing, it was the same area where last year I had lost forever a much loved watch.  Had my new, shiny watch sunk into the mud at the bottom of one of these gullies?  The tide was rising fast and within two hours the marsh would be underwater so I hastily retraced my steps as best I could. It took 15 minutes of frantic searching before I saw the glint of silver through the grass, what a relief – needless to say the kingfisher was long gone.

Fortuitously, I was given a second chance on my way home.  There was a kingfisher and a heron in Portishead Pill.  No need to stalk this kingfisher, I had a grand stand seat. How lucky I was!



Would we be as lucky today?  Well we were making far too much noise as we approached the creek so were not surprised to see a little egret making a hasty exit.  We leant on the railings at the top of the creek chatting until we were interrupted by a series of sharp whistles and a flash of azure streaked passed us into the creek … this kingfisher was soon joined by another.  We watched the pair fish the length of the creek for several minutes.



When they eventually flew out of sight I was treated to a picnic breakfast of apple, a proper English one, cheese and two lusciously ripe figs fresh from my friend’s garden.

Could it get any better?  Well yes actually.  Mid breakfast the two kingfishers reappeared at the top end of the creek.. . they must have double backed across the salt marsh or could it be a second pair?  With fig in one hand and binoculars in the other we had a great view.


We had been lucky!  What a way to start a day . . . such a privilege.

To hear a kingfisher whistle click Kingfisher on RSPB website


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