The ex texted yesterday morning (yes, we're still on speaking terms) saying he was at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve, enjoying a total Kingfisher fest from the Willow hide. He sent photos later for confirmation (and very nice they were too). So that's where I went this morning, setting off at about 5.30am under a still dark and unsettled sky.
I went stomping down the trail towards the hide in one of those agitated thought-storms that stops you from noticing anything around you. When I realised this was what I was doing I forced myself to slow down and take my time (I still saw no birds to speak of though). The hide was empty so I positioned myself at the end nearest the Kingfisher sticks and waited.
Late August has, in past years, been pretty good here, with Grey Wagtails and Green Sandpipers prancing about on the mud right in front of the hide. This year, though, the water levels are still high and there's no exposed mud. On the water, a dozen each of Mallards, Gadwalls and Coots, the resident Mute Swan pair which seem to have had total breeding failure this year, a few Moorhens, a pair of Tufties.
I settled in for a long wait. About 20 minutes in, a Kingfisher flew by at close range, then it or another returned the other way some 10 minutes later. Then the same or yet another approached from opposite me and landed on the more photogenic of the two perches. I took a couple of shots, and then it flew and that was it for Kingfisher action.
I stayed put anyway. It was pleasant - the sun gradually rising behind me and lighting up first the treetops and then the water and making everything look very lovely. Flyby birds included Jay, heard-but-not-seen included Long-tailed Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker, and a Grey Heron and a Cormorant joined the water birds. No mind-bending excitement, just two quiet and peaceful hours with a few old friends. Here's a few photos...