A blur of electric blue is all that we normally see of a kingfisher, and even this is a rare encounter for most of us, but one of these delightful creatures gave Cliff Carson a very pleasant surprise when he downloaded one of the cameras he employs to monitor mink raft activity. The camera was fixed to the end of a wooden stake, and the kingfisher used the stake as a bathing perch, inadvertently activating the camera in the process. Cliff, a former RSPB warden and an encyclopaedia of knowledge about kingfishers in the Fens, says that he thinks the bird has a nest nearby and took the opportunity for a wash and brush up. Those familiar with kingfisher nest burrows (they’re astonishingly smelly and dirty due to the fishy diet) will understand why a quick bath would be an attractive proposition.

© Cliff Carson

Mink are very competent climbers, and often enter kingfisher burrows in riverside banks, consuming whatever they find inside, including incubating adults. This charismatic bird is one of the main beneficiaries of the Waterlife Recovery East project.

Trail camera footage by Cliff Carson

Featured image by Stephen Mace