A flash of kingfisher blue

Pack the binoculars and a camera and take a stroll down to the River Blackwater at The Argory. The kingfisher always excites those lucky enough to see it. Afterwards, kids can claim their bird spotting sticker for achieving this goal from our list of 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾.

The famously colourful bird of rivers and streams, the Kingfisher is surprisingly small, only about 18cm long with a long straight bill. They sit quietly on low hanging branches over the water, diving in to catch small fish. With their unmistakeable bright blue and orange plumage, kingfishers are possibly the most distinctive birds found in Northern Ireland, lazily fly over the water, swooping down to spear a fish with their sharp beaks.

Top tip

Getting close views of them, however, is not easy as they are very shy birds. The best way to watch them is to find a likely spot where they go fishing and the Blackwater is one of the best points in the North. Ian Greenaway, Lead Ranger at The Argory says

'There's at least one pair usually nesting somewhere on the riverbanks. Search carefully and quietly and you may glimpse one perched on an overhanging branch, watching for fish'.

Spotting wildlife for the first time can be very difficult but if you’re lucky enough to capture an image of the kingfisher, why not upload it to our Facebook page. Kingfishers are not as difficult to photograph as you might think, but for the best shots you will need planning, patience and the ability to stay still and hidden.