This years winter was a very cold one. Kingfishers, despite their Dutch name (translated to Icebird) don’t like cold winters at all. It’s not that they freeze to death, but when small lakes and ponds are frozen, it’s difficult if not impossible for them to find food, and they starve to death. Observations this spring have been very scarce in all parts of the Netherlands, so it seems the population has really suffered.
Up to last week, I had not been able to find any kingfishers in my own area, despite many hours of searching at possible hotspots and around last years nesting sites.
Last Monday, I got a tip from a friend of mine: he had seen a male kingfisher visit a perch, near a fallen tree, several times. I checked the place out and it was indeed a nesting site. Given the amount of noise from the cavity and the size of the fish the male brought in, it must be about the time the chicks fledge. That means it is the absolute end of the breeding season (after possibly two or three broods) and the end of (good) photo opportunities. Next year, I hope to find such a spot earlier in the season, as I can tell you: kingfishers are a serious addiction.
Common Kingfisher; Canon 1D Mark III w. 500/4 IS and 1.4x; 1/125s at F5.6 and ISO 400; Gitzo tripod from tenthide