We saw seven different species of Kingfisher this year, 2007, in The Netherlands (‘IJsvogel’), Egypt and The Gambia! We saw most on our trip to The Gambia in January, and most of these were Pied Kingfishers (Ceryle rudis). These black-and-white birds are very approachable. They hunt by hovering over the water and then diving down bill first directly below to catch a fish. We found this one somewhere between the towns of Tendaba and Georgetown:
Yesterday we saw our first Common Kingfisher (‘IJsvogel’) in the Netherlands. Also known as the European Kingfisher, it is the only Kingfisher in the Netherlands and most of Europe. We had just visited the Vogelfestival (“Bird Festival”) in nearby Oostvaardersplassen, an important nature reserve (see also our visit there in March 2007). We had already seen the Common Kingfisher in India (on 26 April 2006) and 9 different species in other countries, but for a long time I wanted to see one in Holland. Finally seeing these two at such close proximity was an exceptionally nice end to a great birding day that was also my birthday.
Kingfishers in the Netherlands are doing exceptionally well due to the recent mild winters. In the Dutch language they are called ijsvogels, which means ice birds. Despite that name, the birds do not fare well in cold winters. More »