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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Whoops! Kingfisher diving for her lunch misses her minnow and ends up with a pebble

By Sara Nelson

Splash! The kingfisher plunges into the stream but just misses her minnow, biting down on a pebble instead

Plunging into a stream, this hungry kingfisher had her lunch firmly in her sights - but veered off course at the last moment, missing her minnow by a whisker and grabbing a pebble instead.

The orange and turquoise bird was left empty-handed after the speedy fish darted off and evaded capture.

But the common kingfisher - thought to be a female less than one-year-old - returned immediately and did get a meal.

Photographer Tony Flashman has spent ten hours a week at the stream, near his home in Deal, Kent, for the past 18 months.

The 54-year-old sits in his hide watching the kingfishers as they sit on their perch, fly and fish.

He said: 'This bird mis-timed its dive and missed the fish. It ended up picking up a small pebble that was nearby instead.

'It would have noticed its mistake pretty quickly when it went to bite into it and was met with a tough surface rather than something squidgy.

Still hungry: Unthwarted the bird plunged back into the water and snatched up her dinner

'The bird dropped the pebble before it emerged from the water.

'Kingfishers are extremely good at fishing and it is rare for them to miss.

'I spend hours at a time in my hide watching these spectacular birds. They are so enchanting.

'I have to be incredibly patient and alert at all times so I do not miss the best photographs.

'My camera can take nine frames a second and in that time the bird can leave its perch, dive into the water and leave with a fish.

'To get the timing right and get these photos is very difficult. I have taken hundreds of photos to get good one like these.'

Tony, who works in a team alongside photographers Mike Vurley and Rob McEwan, added: 'Sadly, the common kingfisher is getting rarer.'

Coming up for air: The bird had returned to the surface empty-handed before making a second, successful dive



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