There is nothing like a low winter sun to transform the drab browns and greys of a Cornish estuary into a smorgasbord of colours. As a bonus today’s little jaunt started off with super-smooth water as well.
There was the usual entertaining waterside action as I paddled silently along. A Greater Black-backed Gull worrying a dead conger eel:
And a Herring Gull tackling a lively lunch that very nearly effects a crafty (although apparently unplanned) escape.
Every colour of the rainbow was on show today because there was a rainbow.
The birds were doing their best to join in with the colourfest and shrug off their national reputation of being dull and brown and boring, although this Curlew has got a bit of work to do because it is basically buff.
The legs of the roosting Redshank show a touch of tangerine:
and Cormorants and Shags, which at long range looking unremarkable (and reptilian), have a bit to boast about when you take a closer look.
This Mandarin Duck makes a good effort with a highly varied colour scheme but they don’t really ‘count’ because, although this bird appeared to be quite wild, they are essentially a feral species which have originated from escapees from collections.
Some of the hardware on show was bright today:
It was appropriately at the most scenic part of today’s paddle that I had the most spectacular view of the UK’s most spectacularly-coloured bird.
I had already seen a couple of Kingfishers zipping along the shore, attracting attention with their loud and piercing whistle. Despite being absurdly brightly-coloured they are very difficult to spot when perched, sitting dead still amongst the branches of waterside trees and bushes, and usually flying off long before you get close, because they are quite shy. Typically all you see is a turquoise flash.
However I saw this particular bird splosh into the water to catch a little fish and then fly up to consume its snack. The gentle current was moving me towards it so I didn’t twitch a muscle as I drifted closer. By good fortune (or highly skillful anticipation) I had my camera all set up and ready, and the sun was directly behind. The Kingfisher’s irridescence was further enhanced by the shimmer of sunlight reflected from the water. Wow.
Even better, I drifted right past without the bird getting spooked and flying off. Couldn’t have been better.
Today’s most drably turned-out creature would have also been the most interesting interaction had it not turned out to be made of plastic.