The King(fisher) of the loch

The kingfisher on the banks of Kinghorn Loch. Pic: Roy Balfour
The kingfisher on the banks of Kinghorn Loch. Pic: Roy Balfour

A colourful visitor has been attracting a lot of people to the banks of Kinghorn loch over the last few weeks.

A beautiful kingfisher has set up home in the area and can regularly be spotted fishing in the loch and sitting in the branches of nearby trees.

His appearance has brought droves of birdwatchers or twitchers to the loch to catch a sighting, and they have not gone away disappointed.

The main attraction for the bird is the plentiful supply of small fish in the loch. This has come about as the water quality is very good, with the loch maintained by the loch users group, a committee of Craigencalt Trust, putting out barley straw on rafts around the water to keep harmful algae at bay.

The last time a kingfisher was seen in the area was in 2011 when the sightings prompted the newly formed Craigencalt Rural Environment Trust to adopt the kingfisher as its logo.

Ron Edwards, chairman of the Trust, said: “Birdwatching surveys have identified over 90 species of birds around the loch, from ducks and swans to garden and woodland birds, owls, woodpecker and buzzard. The favourites are the highly camouflaged water rail and the brazen kingfisher, so there is plenty to choose from.

“The kingfisher has been well photographed. It is not shy and you may be fortunate enough to watch it devour a fish on a nearby branch or see it dive at speed for another.”

The bird is best viewed from the bird hide situated at the west end of the loch in an area specifically reserved for wildlife.

Marilyn Edwards, secretary of the Trust, said: “The kingfisher and the other rarer species have been drawing lots of visitors recently, particularly with the cold, but lovely weather we have been having. Together with the new pathways and the recent Walking Festival there seem to be lots more people out and about around the loch, which is great.”

The Kingfisher

Facts: Kingfishers are small unmistakable bright blue and orange birds which live near slow moving or still water.

They fly rapidly, low over water, and hunt fish from riverside perches, occasionally hovering above the water’s surface.

All have large heads, long, sharp, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails.

They are a vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses.