On The Trail of A Kingfisher

There’s something special about visiting RSPB and YWT sites and seeing wildlife that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to see.


But wandering less than a mile from your doorstep and realising you have a plethora of species in your immediate environment is even more special.
Imagine this………


6am one Saturday morning and I throw my camera bag on my back. The earlier the hour the heavier the bag seems to be! Heading off towards Dogloitch Woods with the aim of some more shots of the Woodpecker, my path takes me down the path at the side of Haigh Hall towards the bridge that crosses Hey Beck.


By the time you get to the bottom of the track and stand still for just a minute you instantly hear the symphony of birds performing their dawn chorus.


I cross the bridge and my senses are stunned by the fleeting glance of blue gliding down the beck.


Years ago, I used to photograph for the RSPB; the excitement of knowing I’d just seen a Kingfisher on my doorstep was electric.


I managed to get positioned behind some brambles and waited and waited. Backwards and forwards it flew, each time a little closer to perching on a stick that protruded from the banking. It was still very early, and nobody was around, if someone had have walked along the path, I felt sure the Kingfisher would have moved site.


An hour passed by and he didn’t return but I wasn’t going to give up. The first Kingfisher I ever photographed took over a year, most of my shots that came before just had smudges of blue somewhere on the image, nothing ever in focus.


Deciding to wander up and down the stream to try to find him again, I saw him pass by many times; the glance of blue or orange, depending on whether they’re heading towards you or flying away is unmistakeable.
Settling on a spot with Dogloitch behind me, I decid

ed I’d have 20 more minutes before heading home. It was freezing, even though the sun was up. The weather was really strange, blustery, dry, almost like a mix between a crisp winter morning and bright spring day.


Every now and then an over excited Labrador or spaniel would bound by – 5 minutes and if I hadn’t seen it that was that. I’d have to come back another day.
How do you tell people you’ve seen a Kingfisher in West Ardsley without a photograph of it!!!!


And then…….


The call was so loud, I knew he was nearby. I could hear them calling to each other up and down the beck and I was in the middle.


A flash of blue and for 60 seconds he perched on the branch in front of me. Holding my breath, I pushed the shutter on my camera and that was it!


A male Kingfisher, a mile from my house and 6 amazing photographs of him.


Make sure you keep your eyes peeled when out walking near the beck, a quick flash of blue and you too will have a beaming smile from seeing the Kingfisher!

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