Nottingham

'Angel-like' kingfisher shot at reserve is 'one in a million'

Kingfisher Image copyright Paul Gregory
Image caption The bird was captured on film as it hovered above the water at Attenborough Nature Reserve

A picture of a kingfisher hovering above the water moments before diving for a fish has been described as a "once in a lifetime" shot by wildlife experts.

The bird was captured by keen amateur photographer Paul Gregory, from Clifton, at Attenborough Nature Reserve in Nottinghamshire on Saturday morning.

Mr Gregory, 57, said the image, which has been shared widely on social media, was a case of being in the "right place at the right time".

Tim Sexton, a manager at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust-run reserve, said to capture the bird in an angel-like pose was extremely rare.

Kingfisher in flight Image copyright Paul Gregory
Image caption Paul Gregory said he saw the bird after sitting in a hide at the reserve for a couple of hours
Kingfisher with wings closed Image copyright Paul Gregory
Image caption Wildlife experts say it is rare to get pictures of kingfishers in flight

The trust said birdwatchers usually only see a "flash of blue" as the bird flies past.

Mr Gregory, who had been sitting in a hide for about two hours before seeing the bird, said: "I didn't expect [to see any kingfishers] as the water was a bit weedy.

"Then I had the first sighting at about 9 and then I got that display.

"It was so rewarding as in the last year I've had nothing. Patience is a virtue."

Kingfisher perching Image copyright Paul Gregory
Image caption Kingfishers are usually pictured while perching

Mr Sexton said most pictures of kingfishers, which hunt for minnows and sticklebacks in shallow pools of water, show them perching.

"Action shots like this don't happen that often," he said. "It's a real top quality [picture] and a one in a million shot."

In 2016, Attenborough Nature Reserve was voted as one of the best places to see the birds by BBC Wildlife magazine.

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Delta pond at Attenborough Nature Reserve Image copyright Amanda Sinclair
Image caption The kingfisher was spotted at Attenborough Nature Reserve's Delta pond
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