Hi and welcome to my Blog, my name is Paul Riddle and I live in south Leicestershire, UK. Back in August 2007 my quest began to locate as many local Little Owl territories as possible. The driving force was a reported decline in the uk numbers so I thought I would do my bit and conduct a study in my area. After 7 years and countless hours out in the field I have detected over 200 different sites. With a thirst for a greater understanding of the owls a more comprehensive monitoring and nest box programme then commenced. This also now includes monitoring the local and very sparse population of Barn Owls, please pop back occasionally and catch up with the life and times of my owls and any other wildlife that I come across. I hope you enjoy your visit!!!

Monday, 13 October 2014

More Kingfishers......

Hi all,

Sadly nothing to report on the local owling front, I've visited some local sites where breeding took place in the spring that held Tawnies, Barnies and Little Owls but no sightings have been made at all?

So rather than spend time seeing nothing I was drawn back to my Kingfisher site at South Wigston. Four separate three hour sessions resulted in plenty of fly by birds but hardly a stop off where I'd parked up. The only time I had any quality views was when one of the males obliged and used my perch as a fishing post. It initially landed and spent the next few minutes preening itself, then without notice it dived into the water below and returned back to the same perch with its catch, a small Stickleback.

Kingfisher (male) with Stickleback.
Watching it use my perch was very rewarding in itself, and I was well chuffed with the Stickleback capture and image, but then things improved somewhat, it dived again into the river only this time it emerged with a different fish species altogether, a Bullhead I think?

Although I didn't realise at the time the Kingfisher had actually speared the Bullhead with its mandible, the lower in the fish's side and the upper right between the eyes, ouch!!

As you can probably make out from the last image above it was raining at the time which meant lower light and slower shutter speeds. A real shame as I'd captured loads of images of the Kingfisher slapping the fish against the perch (to kill it before being consumed) but at only 1/500 of a second it wasn't enough to freeze the action and consequently they were at different levels of being blurred, examples below.......

It was inevitable that the "action" wasn't going to last for long and as anticipated the Kingfisher soon departed. The next few hours were spent again watching a lifeless river......

On my way back home I took a quick detour down a track that leads to the local river, just to have a look really. Whilst down there I had a flash of blue whiz past the Landrover, I couldn't believe it there were Kingfishers here on my doorstep!! The bird in question landed in a riverside Willow Tree, I watch it through my binoculars as it dived into the water on a couple of occasions coming up with a catch both times, could it be a favoured fishing perch? I waited until it flew off and then positioned the Landrover parallel to the river and adjacent to the Willow Tree. I didn't have to wait long either before the bird returned, this time it landed on a small branch on the other side of the river, here it held a very erect posture, maybe it was checking me out? 

So this image below is my very first of a Kingfisher from my No 2 site, it's quite a heavy crop but what can be clearly seen is the orange the the lower mandible meaning it to be a female bird. It also has quite "dirty brown" feet rather than bright pink which suggests it is a juvenile. 

Female - Kingfisher site No 2
For the next hour I was captivated watching this young bird as it flitted around in front of me, occasionally it would stop for a few seconds to fish.  It came quite close to me at times and with the much improved light a few more images were captured.

To say I am over the moon that I have discovered this Kingfisher territory so local to home is a gross understatement!! It only takes me 2 minutes to drive there rather than the 15 minutes to my initial No 1 Kingfisher site and the bird here seems to tolerate the close presence of the Landrover. 

Obviously I am now going to dedicate some time to this "on my doorstep" new site, I think that the overall layout of the river and the lower height of the banks lends itself better for maybe attaining a decent flight shot and two birds together than my No 1 site does, time will tell?

Thanks for stopping off

Catch up soon...........


  1. Outstanding photo's Paul, Brilliant.

    1. Thank you Dawson, I hope Wales is treating you well?

  2. Possibly the best Kingfisher I ever seen, excellent.

    1. Wow I wouldn't go that far Bob, but I am pretty pleased with my captures so far, thanks for commenting.

  3. I agree with Bob you have out done yourself with this batch of images. Well done

    1. I think I am missing something what with yours and Bobs comments, possibly I am being too self critical? Cheers anyway Doug.

  4. Beautiful series of kingfisher! Greetings from Poland!