Something is missing from this photograph of a misty River Jordan at about 6.40 yesterday morning. See if you can guess what it is.
Quite right (I’m sure you guessed) – it’s a kingfisher. About a second after I’d taken the picture one shot into view and flew up the river in the direction of the railway station. I have quite often seen them in this vicinity, though they are more common along the Union Canal (particularly on the stretch around Husband’s Bosworth). How the bird would have appeared in the photo I don’t know. S. Vere Benson comments
“This gem among birds is so brightly coloured as almost to dazzle the eye in certain lights. I have seen one on the wing looking like a bright blue light rather than anything solid”
So perhaps like that. But to give you some idea of the nature of this splendid bird, here is a poem by the original (and greatest) Super Tramp, W.H. Davies –
It was the Rainbow gave thee birth,
And left thee all her lovely hues;
And, as her mother’s name was Tears,
So runs it in my blood to choose
For haunts the lonely pools, and keep
In company with trees that weep.
Go you and, with such glorious hues,
Live with proud peacocks in green parks;
On lawns as smooth as shining glass,
Let every feather show its marks;
Get thee on boughs and clap thy wings
Before the windows of proud kings.
Nay, lovely Bird, thou art not vain;
Thou hast no proud, ambitious mind;
I also love a quiet place
That’s green, away from all mankind;
A lonely pool, and let a tree
Sigh with her bosom over me.