There are few birds in the UK as strikingly beautiful as the Kingfisher. I have only been lucky enough to see one and even then it was fleeting.
They are found near slow moving or still water. They fly rapidly, low over water and hunt fish from riverside perches.
Kingfishers breed in their first year. Two to three broods are raised in quick succession. The first clutch of 6-7 eggs is in April/May. Both adults incubate the eggs, chicks hatch 19-21 days later. Each chick can eat 12-18 fish a day. The chicks are usually ready to leave the nest when they are 24-25 days old (unless weather has affected the parents ability to fish, in which case up to 37 days). Once out of the nest the young are fed for only 4 days before the adults drive them out of the territory and start the next brood.
Kingfishers are very short lived. Many young will have not learnt to fish by the time they are driven from their parents territory. Studies suggest that only half of the fledglings survive more than 1-2 weeks.
Very few birds live longer than one breeding season. Most die from cold or lack of food. A severe winter can kill a very high percentage of the birds.
Because they are high up the food chain they are extremely vulnerable to a build up of chemicals in their food and river pollution.
This piece was inspired by a water colour painting by a distant relative, I have grown up with this picture and always loved the movement and colours, despite its age it is still quite vibrant.
As always I enjoyed searching out appropriate fabrics, I already owned most but was over the moon to find the backing fabric. It gave the perfect, subtle impression of water and reeds.
Above you can see how I used some of the fabrics and the selection of cottons I had to work from. Once again the Oliver Twist threads were perfect, with their subtle colour changes and jewel like shades.
Starting to stitch the reeds and fish.
The tiny flecks of pale turquoise on the birds wings were picked out using a double thickness of thread sewn by hand.
I quilted the backing fabric with a pale shade of greenish grey to enhance the impression of plant life.
A limited edition Giclee print of ‘Fish Supper’ is available from my Website shop , please click here to view.