Tuesday, 19 January 2010

"The robins must be getting desperate!"

[More bird stories following my posting about the golden plover on the beach, as well as the horrid story of birdcrime and cannibalism in Budleigh Salterton down on the banks of the River Otter as featured on the BBC's 'Snow Watch.'

The big freeze seems like a bad dream now that the first signs of spring are here, but the memories of weird bird behaviour during the cold spell will remain.

My Budleigh correspondent Janet Parrish sent me this one, with these two great photos of an unusual garden visitor]

Yesterday morning I looked out of the bedroom window to see something with a red breast diving into the pond. I thought, "Heavens! I have never seen a robin dive before. It is going in after the fish. This must have been a hard winter indeed!"

It emerged and sat on the heron sculpture. "That's a funny looking robin," thought I. "Better put my glasses on... and get the binoculars out."

Imagine my surprise and delight to see it was no robin, but a kingfisher. I have never in my life seen a real live kingfisher before, let alone in my own back yard. It must have come all the way from Otterton, where I know they are regularly seen.

It stayed for the rest of the day, alternately watching from the 'heron' and then from the bird feeding station, between fishing sorties. It was getting quite dark before it finally left. Sadly it has not been back today, having presumably finished the fish available. Maybe someone else is benefiting from the sight as it plunders pond after pond.

Text and photos © Janet Parrish



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