Kingfisher Comes Visiting

Raucous cries greeted me the other morning as I went to open the pasture gate for the goats. I thought I recognized the bird call and looked for the source. There in a tree was a kingfisher.

Kingfishers have a big voice, but aren’t very big. I tried to blend in with the goats. The kingfisher was not fooled.

When we first moved here, there were deep pools along the creek. Two properties up there was a beaver dam slowing down the flood waters and evening out the regular flows. A kingfisher was unusual, but did come calling.

The loggers came through several properties above us. The property before ours cleared the land all the way to the creek then put large cattle on it.

New owners destroyed the beaver dam after killing all of the beavers. They used a small bulldozer to straighten the creek.

Minnows inhabit the creek in front of the tree where the kingfisher sat. The creek is only a foot deep and eight feet wide at this spot. Maybe the creek will deepen more over the next few years and the kingfisher will be able to move into the area.

Our deep pools filled with gravel. The creek bed gained about eighteen inches of the stuff.

The properties above us have new owners. The beavers are trying to establish themselves again. The creek banks are growing up in sycamores, black alder and willows. Slowly the gravel is being pushed down to the river and pools are starting to form along our creek again.

Snapping turtles discovered the creek. One or two come up the creek every year. One even laid eggs a couple of years ago.

The goats were eager to go out and graze. The herd left me standing with my camera. The kingfisher inspected me and decided I was no immediate threat. After I went back to the barn, I heard his calls from further down the creek.

Now a kingfisher has come up the creek to look the place over. The pools aren’t really deep enough yet for him to dive for his supper. The fish are still a bit small.

As far as I know the creek mainly has broad headed minnows, bloody shiners, darters and madtoms. The minnows and shiners can reach six inches, but are normally four or less.

Maybe, in another year or two, the pools will again have blue gill in them. They will again be four feet deep. Then a kingfisher won’t just visit looking the place over, but will decide to stay.