A Kingfisher | Day 43 of 100

3min read

At the moment, given the covid situation, I go for a walk nearly every day. As mentioned in my first post. The route is not always the same, but it usually passes a particular spot.

This particular spot does not really look like anything special. It's right at the edge of the park, where the water begins to flow from a nearby brook into the first of two large ponds/lakes within the park. There is a main road over the brook with a tunnel running underneath the road to allow the water to pass. I walk on the path adjacent to the road. Looking into the park from the path there is an old, probably Georgian (maybe older), humpty-back stone bridge. Between this bridge and the tunnel/road combo is a smaller feeder pond to the larger pond. The pond has quite murky waters, with branches both sticking out of the water and out of the steep banks.

Quite often when I am wandering down the path to a podcast, I see a group of photographers on the humpty-back bridge with their large lensed cameras. The cameras are pointing towards the road (hardly to attack me like the paparazzi!) but also towards the tunnel. I frequently wonder why they are pointing their cameras at the tunnel. For some reason, in my head, I thought it was some odd olds wives tale like the Three Billy Goats Gruff where a troll is hiding under the bridge. Funny that as trolls don't exist...

Recently though one of the photographers was in an alternative position. His avid fellow hobbyists still on the bridge, he had decided to move more toward the road, and into my walking route. I decided to ask him why there are so many photographers crowding this very unassuming little pond, and explained to him that in the 2 years I have lived here I have always wandered by, wondered why, but never asked.

The photographer abandons his post to share with me a stunning photograph of a handsome bluebird. A kingfisher. I have rarely seen kingfisher before, but their radiant royal blue back and golden tan breast are unmistakeable (even at a socially distant distance). The photographer explained to me that there is a pair that frequents the smaller pond fed by the brook, and that they often sit together on the branches protruding from the steep bank.

I have seen one of the kingfishers once since my encounter with the photographer. A rare sighting. Though I do wonder when I pass their spot, do they know they are rare? How happy must they be just the two of them by the pond. The paparazzi going wild next to them but they're not phased. All this just a few minutes from my flat. I'm glad the photographer shared his hobby, I now look for the kingfishers most days as just knowing they might be there improves lockdown just a tad. I hope they stick around.