We were birding around Kaza, in the Spiti valley, on a clear and sunny afternoon late in September. Despite the sun, there was a chill in the air. It was late in the “season”, and the bird activity had slowed down substantially. Most migrants had already left for their winter abode. There were patches of ice on the stream, the night temperatures were already dipping below the freezing point.
About 15 kilometres down stream from Kaza, in a marshy area we spotted a flash of blue and orange. It was a Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), fishing alone in the freezing waters. He would repeatedly fly over the freezing stream, dive in the fast moving waters, and return to his perch on a small rock with his catch to eat it at leisure. Quite confiding, this bird allowed us to observe him from fairly close quarters for a long time. We saw this Common Kingfisher at an altitude of about 3400meters, much above its usual haunts of this species. This painting was inspired by this magical encounter.
The Common Kingfisher – a Painting
Acrylic on canvas 15″ x 18″
Closeups of some details of this painting.