Unlocking The Landscape Part 1

The Kingfisher

Unlocking The Landscape Part 1

To truly appreciate a landscape I like to explore its environs, discover all the constituent parts that make up the whole. As part of the 7 Day Nature Photography Challenge (as nominated by Seonaid), the Weekly Photo Challenge: Landscape and Ailsa’s Travel Theme: Refreshing, I spent a gloriously refreshing afternoon investigating the many components that make up the local landscape along the Basingstoke Canal.

The stretch of canal that I like to visit is half a kilometre in length, running west from the Woodham Lock in West Byfleet, Surrey. On good days I like to attempt to walk along parts of the towpath, known as the Saturn Trail, but knowing I needed my 50-500mm lens and my tripod for the images that I hoped to capture, I made the short journey in my wheelchair. I certainly needed my seat for the several blissful hours I spent photographing the undisputed jewel of this landscape – The Kingfisher!

In this, I have now fulfilled a lifelong dream. Over the years I have, on occasion, caught a fleeting glimpse, a dart of iridescent blue and orange zipping along the water’s course, or diving fast and silent before vanishing in yet another magical burst of blue! The still waters barely show a ripple or disturbance, hardly a sign that the fisher king has been and gone. Often I have been left questioning my own eyes!

But no longer! Now I have a pair to watch and study, to photograph, film and simply delight in their existence! I feel truly blessed by this gift of nature and I’m so thrilled to be able to share some of my experiences with you all. I would like to challenge EVERYONE to spend at least seven days exploring the nature and wildlife that inhabits a local landscape, be it urban or countryside. If you want to share what you find in photography, sketches, poetry, notes or a story then that would be wonderful too!

Also part of Blue Monday, hosted by Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor
Smiling Sally

59 comments on “Unlocking The Landscape Part 1

    • Thanks so much Gemma πŸ™‚ There are lots of waterways in my area so I’ve been searching for a kingfishers domain for ages! They like the canals with the slow moving water. It’s all about finding their favourite fishing perches! I’ll be posting about the wildlife of the canal every day this week so do stop by again πŸ™‚

  1. Hi Gemma, Your study and photos of the Basingstoke Canal. The kingfisher is beautiful. I am so happy for your opportunity to photograph and enjoy these sweet birds as well as the canal. Thank you for sharing them today

    Happy Blue Monday and thank you for linking today.

  2. Sarah, forgive me for writing Gemma’s name on your terrific post. It is past midnight and I had Gemma on my mind because she is my last comment for Blue Monday. Silly me. I realized my mistake right after I hit post comment. I think I should go to bed. Smile!!! So goodnight and have a wonderful week.

    • No worries Jeanne! It’s just gone midnight here and I should be winding down but it often seems to be the one bit of time to reply to messages and look through posts! Hosting a challenge is a big job to take on with so many people to contact. I’m just happy sharing beautiful blues so don’t ever worry about getting back to me straight away!!

    • Thank you so much πŸ™‚ Yes it did, but it’s so worth it!! All wildlife photography involves a lot of patience and a bit of luck. I spent a few days scoping out their territory and learning where they were perching the most. I couldn’t believe our good fortune to have two move into this stretch πŸ˜€

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  4. Excellent captures of this gorgeous beauty Sarah. He clearly chose the best spot for his domain and you’ve captured that so stunning as well. Thanks for sharing. πŸ˜€ β™₯

    • It’s beautiful Andy πŸ™‚ We’re only half an hour from the mayhem of London but there’s a lot of tranquillity to be found. It’s a busy towpath though!! Lots of cyclists, some of whom have been causing problems with speed and rudeness, lots of dogwalkers and people like to walk along there with children and buggies too. During school time the kids often walk the towpath to and from school. Many of them are good kids but others are dreadful at leaving litter and throwing things at the ducks. The saddest thing was the cygnets being shot with an air rifle a few years ago 😦 I wish there was more money to try to prevent the antisocial behaviour. I like to think that I do my bit by sharing the beauty of place with people around here and online. I always stop people with kids out walking or cycling to show them wildlife that I’m watching πŸ™‚ They use the route all the time but often don’t actually see all that’s there. I had a good group gathered watching the kingfisher with me πŸ˜€ Had never met any of them before but they all left full of joy!

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    • It’s the first time I’ve really been able to watch one closely πŸ™‚ They’re usually very shy birds! I haven’t seen them in this spot for over a week now so I’m beginning to think that they’ve moved upstream a bit. Now I have to find them again!! Thank you Laura πŸ™‚

      • I’m still looking!! I covered a couple of miles during the week but there’s lots of houses on the far bank with gardens opening onto the canal itself. Most have moorings and some have boat houses too! One had an awesome tree house πŸ˜€ I have decided that if I win the lottery I’m buying a whole road of them and planting kingfisher friendly trees and shrubs πŸ˜‰

      • I think that’s a great idea! The one we see is across the pond which is pretty far. I can see what it is from a distance because of their funny shape and distinct markings but I sure would love one right next to me.

      • Me too!! There was a feature on a weekly program we have here called Countryfile, all about a woman who bought a large amount of land with a home and completely turned the landscape into natural wildlife habitat πŸ˜€ She’s got cameras all over the place including one that sits next to a perch that the kingfisher there uses. OMG the footage she gets is just amazing!

      • That is so cool!! I wonder if she has a website with steaming video. I’d want to add night vision cameras. We were thinking of getting one here just to see what lurks around our house at night LOL!

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