Monday, 26 October 2009

The Streak.

IMG_1760, originally uploaded by melvinheng.

I went through the first 44 years of my life only managing to see two; more recently I began to notice flashes of colour out of the side of my eye, now I can barely look at The Irwell between Peel Park and Boddies without seeing Kingfishers. It reminds me of the time when my mother-in-law was slightly obsessed with those magic eye 3D images that were all the rage a few years back. I looked and I looked and I couldn't see anything. One day she said, just defocus your eyes while looking at one. I did. WOW! A 3D cowboy on a horse. From then on whenever I was looking at one I'd just go 'doink', and defocus my eyes. Two seconds later, there was the image in full effect.

It's like that with the Kingfishers, as if my eyes and my brain suddenly worked out how to go 'doink' so I could see them. This has meant over the past three or four weeks I've been seeing them almost as often as I see the Grey Wagtails, and more often than the Goosanders. Best of all was this morning when I was looking from inside Peel Park towards the opposite bank of the river and heard the now familiar twitter-gargle they make - a bit like a more high-pitched finch song. My eyes went 'doink' and I found it heading up towards Castle Irwell, low above the water. When it reached the gated and locked footbridge, which no longer takes students over the river between Salford University campusses, it turned and headed back, landing about twenty feet in front of me on the concrete riverbank. I tried to get a better look with the binoculars but the movement must have disturbed it and it flew off.

Earlier, I'd been looking from the bridge described above and heard a commotion among some carrion crows in trees on the far bank. Some swooped out and swooped into the foliage, again and again, calling angrily. They were obviously mobbing something. I tried to see clearer what it was, but as I only use a pair of 10x25 bought from Walmart in Canada purely functional compact binoculars it was difficult, but it looked a crow with a thin white stripe along each upper wing. I couldn't get a clear enough view as it, and they, kept moving, but I can only presume it was a crow with a few stray, mutant white feathers. Further along, and now opposite the tree, I looked again, but this time they seemed to be working out their anger on a smaller, brown bird, possibly one of the sparrowhawks which can be seen along there.

Following on from this blog's first anniversary at the weekend I've decided to post a few more of these longer, more city centre nature-focussed pieces, and also to source more photographs from Creative Commons (as I'm never going to get good wildlife photographs). So, thanks to Melvin Heng for the usage of the photograph.


  1. following seeing your article last week i thought i'd never see a Kfisher but saw two today on the Rochdale Canal between Haigh Lane and Grimshaw Lane.

  2. Great news. You'll see even more now.