Iconic yet elusive British bird expertly photographed at Nottinghamshire Reserve.

In the UK the only glimpse we tend to get of kingfishers is a flash of their unmistakable electric blue feathers as they fly past - blink and you’ve missed it. However, Attenborough Nature Reserve has become a favourite fishing spot for these iconic birds.

Local photographer Paul Gregory took a trip down to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserve and managed to snap a once in a lifetime shot of a kingfisher, just moments before it dived into the water to catch a fish.

Kingfisher at Attenborough Nature Reserve Delta Hide by Paul Gregory

Paul Gregory

The ideal spot for a kingfisher to fish is somewhere with a good perch, usually an overhanging branch, and a clear shallow pool of water so they can easily spot fish such as minnows and sticklebacks below. This is busy work as they need to consume around 60% of their body weight every day.

Kingfisher cpt Janie Berry

© Janie Berry

The need to consume so much per day leads to prime fishing spots becoming very sought after and kingfishers will do what they can to defend their territory from rivals. September and October is the time of year when juveniles become more independent and start looking for their own territories, making early autumn the best time of year to see these birds.

Attenborough Centre NottsWT cpt Robert Mackin

Robert Mackin

Reserves Manager Chris Kennedy from Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trusts said “Kingfishers are sadly vulnerable to harsh winters, water pollution and human disturbance which had led to a decline in their numbers throughout the UK. We are lucky enough to have these special birds present at Attenborough all year round, which are regularly seen from the café balcony. The frequency of sightings on the reserve really is a testament to how important sites like Attenborough are for wildlife and to the volunteer efforts managing the reserve’s habitats”

Attenborough Nature Reserve was recently named the one of the best places in the UK to see kingfishers by BBC Wildlife Magazine. If you’re yet to spot one of these iconic birds, or want to see if you can get a shot like Paul’s, ask for the access code in the centre and head down to the delta hide at Attenborough Nature Reserve and keep an eye out for that flash of blue.

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Paul Gregory