The Kingfisher sat on the waterside perch we had made him from bamboo and studied the water for any sign of movement. Suddenly he dived swiftly into the water and returned with a sizeable fish in his beak which he sat and enjoyed on his perch, overlooked by myself, sitting on the terrace at Les Séchoirs in Clairac. Kingfishers often catch fish that are bigger and stronger than them.
The river Lot is home to scores of brightly coloured Kingfishers, but they are rarely spotted as they perch waiting to catch their meals but a sudden flash of bright azure as they fly makes them easier to spot although they do fly fast and straight – and they make a distinctive whistle as they fly, hovering above the water for just moments before they suddenly dive on some poor unsuspecting fish!
There are actually more than 83 different types of Kingfishers. Most live by lakes and slow flowing rivers. Our kingfisher has made his home in dense cover but many make their homes in burrows in the river bank and it is a sad fact that their mortality rate is high as many youngsters have unsuccessful maiden flights and end up drowning. Mother Nature does compensate for this as Kingfishers have three broods a year and a healthy adult can live for seven years or more.
Certainly one of the delights of living on the banks of the river Lot is its rich wildlife and for many seeing a Kingfisher regularly is just one of them!