Riverside royalty takes off

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THESE kingfisher chicks were anything but camera shy when they were snapped at Fairburn Ings by a sharp-eyed visitor.

The usually timid birds gave visitors to the RSPB site a rare treat when they ventured out with mum and dad to learn essential survival skills before setting out on their own.

The colourful clan were seen flying, fishing and carrying nesting material, allowing flocks of nature-lovers to have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting up close and personal with the beautiful birds.

Laura Bentley, of RSPB Fairburn Ings, said: “Most people would be lucky to see one kingfisher in their lifetime, let alone five all together.

“In the cold harsh winter our lakes and ponds were frozen solid for months so we were very worried for our kingfishers not being able to get enough food. But seeing a whole, healthy looking family is a great sign.”

The young kingfishers were photographed close to the nature reserve’s visitor centre, by Oliver C Wright, who spotted the unmistakable tiny bright blue and orange birds when they were learning how to fish from their parents.

Kingfishers, which are vulnerable to hard winters and loss of habitat, are on Europe’s conservation list.

Visitors to Fairburn Ings and other inhabited areas should look out for the birds flying fast and low over the water, hunting fish from riverside perches and occasionally hovering above the water’s surface.

Visit www.rspb.org.uk/reserves for more information.