There are now two wintering Kingfishers being reported in Akershus although there must be more out there given how few birders we are to discover them. They live a perilous life this far north (which explains why they are so scarce) and if we have a severe cold spell then many will certainly die and the species will disappear for a few years before again expanding north from warmer climes.
I visited the new bird today and it is frequenting a small meandering river that runs through a flat valley with bulrushes that reminds me very much of the English countryside. Quite why this river hasn’t frozen when faster flowing streams have frozen over is unknown to me but let’s up hope it remains that way through the whole winter.
A road runs along the river and this allowed the bird to be searched for and viewed from the warmth of the car plus the fact that cars work as well as hides and mean with luck one gets closer to the bird which indeed happened. At the first likely looking place I stopped the car, lowered the window and had a scan of riverside trees. I saw nothing but heard a Kingfisher! It took a bit more scanning but then I found it. After this I followed the bird for over an hour as it moved along the river. It would try out suitable fishing spots for up to 5 minutes before moving to the next one and I was able to get ahead of the bird and wait for it to hopefully land close to me which did happen a couple of times. I saw it catch three fish during an hour of watching which must be a pretty good catch rate and bodes well. The bird had a mostly black bill with just a small area of red on the lower mandible so should be a male but I feel a bit uncertain about sexing Kingfishers after last year’s bird where different photos gave a very different impression of the bill.
|I have not noticed this previously but as can be seen in this and the next picture the bill doesn't close properly|
|with it's third fish during the hour I was watching|
|it certainly brightens up the otherwise monochrome winter colours|