As we move closer to winter time the number of kingfisher sightings on its ‘usual perch’ increases, and it’s always great to watch its characteristic tail flicking, head bobbing, and dives into the water. However, on Saturday there was added drama to this scene when a sparrow hawk attempted to add kingfisher to the menu. We were lucky that one of our visitors had a camera pointed at the kingfisher when this happened and was able to capture the event.
The sparrow hawk appeared from the undergrowth just as the kingfisher entered the water, giving it time to cross the distance to the perch unnoticed before the kingfisher resurfaced.
The sparrow hawk was unbelievably close when the kingfisher saw it and shot off in a zigzag flight across the pond, making loud, sharp ‘keee’ calls as it did so.
After a couple of seconds the sparrow hawk gave up the chase and flew off, and the kingfisher returning to its perch. After some minutes of staring in the direction the sparrow hawk had disappeared to, the kingfisher checked all sides before disappearing into the undergrowth itself.
Despite the sparrow hawk having the element of surprise, the kingfisher had the speed. A split second earlier, though, and the outcome could have been entirely different. It will definitely add extra excitement to kingfisher watching.
Georgina Bowie (Visitor Centre Assistant)