Regular visitors Dee and Stan Maddams have been even more regular than usual over recent weeks, staking out Goosander Hide for kingfishers alongside many other kindred spirits – it was Dee that emailed in that cracking picture of a honey buzzard she had taken from there a few days ago and which I posted in my blog last Saturday.
She has also sent in a few (of a great many!) of the kingfisher pictures she has taken for us to share. Blashford is a great place to see kingfisher throughout the year and Goosander Hide in late summer has been a reliable place to photograph them for a few years now so we have been lucky enough to see lots of kingfisher images taken on site. What makes these stand out from the cowd is that they include more than the “usual” shots of perched kingfisher (as lovely as they are too!):
Last night Stan e-mailed us with an update on their visit yesterday morning:
“My wife and I were in the Goosander hide again this morning and shortly after arriving we spotted one of the kingfishers hovering near the clump of trees/vegetation 30 or so metres in front of the hide, his or her partner was on a branch.
The hovering bird set off towards one of the perches in front of the hide when, out of nowhere, a bird of prey swooped down, grabbed the kingfisher and was gone. Happened so quickly and it was quite dark so we were unable to positively ID the raptor but it was possibly a sparrowhawk.
I would imagine the partner wanted to keep a low profile after, as during the next 4 hours there was only a single very brief sighting!”
Although the bird of prey could have been a peregrine or a hobby, both of which are regulars over Ibsley Water, sparrowhawk is the most likely suspect in this instance – the last time the sand martin wall was in use before this summer it/they were frequently being visited by a sparrowhawk who very successfully hunted there.
One of those moments in nature that can be hard to watch on the one hand, but on the other is always an exciting and rare privilege too.
Many thanks to Stan and Dee for sharing their pictures and observations with us.