Saturday, 1 March 2014

It's been a while!

It's been seven months since I posted the last Thames Nature Notes because of family matters. I had intended to start again in the new year but, since mid December the weather in South East England has been atrocious.

We have had the wettest winter since records began with extreme flooding.  Others, in South West England have suffered even more for months now, so we cannot complain, but we're glad that the river has now returned to normal levels and at last our garden is no longer under water.  In fact, the river engulfed our end of the island and there was river from the A308 bank as far as, and right across Hurst Meadows.  It was an unusual sight to see swans swimming down through our carport and around the garden before being swept across the river into the meadows way beyond.

They say that every cloud has a silver lining and, as far as we were concerned, in spite of some extremely worrying times, we had the joy of watching a Kingfisher take advantage of our underwater garden to catch breakfast, lunch and dinner!

 The Kingfisher waited patiently for signs of fish

Because the river was flowing so fast the Kingfisher found our submerged garden a perfect haven.  It spent hours on most days diving for fish, taking advantage of the many convenient perches around the garden.  My husband took this picture of the bird posing on the top of a ladder.  The river had risen higher than 4 ft and we had had to put in place a series of ladders and planks to enable us to get off our boat and out through the garden and carport.  Even beyond the carport the water was still deep enough to require us to wear wellies! 

 Fishing is a tiring business

While I was out one day, Dave was able to grab this shot through our kitchen window.  The Kingfisher had spent ages diving for little fish, with considerable success, and had just finished quite a sizeable one.  After preening his feathers he had a lovely stretch before heading home for the evening.

Our beautiful bird arrives for its morning snack

I was also able to spend a fair bit of time watching this magnificent bird.  The weather was too bad to do much else!  I was lucky enough to get this shot as he arrived for for his first meal of the day. Unfortunately, as the weather was dire for much of the time, we could only get grab shots through the kitchen window most of the time but there were a couple of days when the sun shone and we managed to take some pictures through an open upstairs window without distracting the Kingfisher.

Today is the first day of Spring and we have enjoyed sunshine, bird song, and watched a number of female mallards checking out the duck nesting boxes.  Tomorrow rain is forecast again but tomorrow is another day!

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