Early morning on the River Usk.

14th July 2017
It’s been a disappointing spring and early summer for the Kingfishers at a site I monitor down on my local River, the Usk. There has only been one male bird there all throughout this period and that is unusual because this particular stretch of river is a prime habitat for them consisting of slow moving water and plenty of overhanging trees like Willows, which Kingfishers have a likeing for. Earlier this week I was out very early on the river just to see what was around and sitting in my portable hide I could see the same male Kingfisher flying up and down the river about every twenty minutes or so, normal behaviour for him this year. After two hours with very little happening a juvenile dipper arrived and began feeding on a shingle spit on the opposite side of the river to me but too far for me to photograph it. Suddenly the birds began to alarm call and the Dipper flew across to my side of the river and I took a few shots.

However, I was more concerned about the birds alarm calling. This behaviour usually signals the presence of a predator like a Mink but the undergrowth parted slightly and this cheeky Fox poked his head out.

I have seen it many times on this stretch of the river, an equally deadly predator, but at least one that is part of the UK food chain! It didn’t see me I’m sure, nevertheless it didn’t stay long and disappeared back under cover. I waited a little longer but there was no further activity until the male Kingfisher sped past again but almost immediately he was followed by another Kingfisher also flying past calling. I decided to wait a little longer and I could now hear the tell-tale call again, the second bird flew towards me and landed in a small Ash sapling near to my hide.

I looked through my binoculars and to my delight I could see it was a female, then the male flew past again and she took off after him. I hope this means that they are a pair, I left full of hope and will return sometime in August hopefully to see some youngsters!