Did you know that the Greek name for a Kingfisher is halcyon, leading to the term ‘halcyon days’...why? read on below this picture of a bird having a good squawk.
So what is the story? According to the ancient Greeks, kingfishers built their nests on a raft of fish bones and, having laid their eggs, they set the nest afloat on the Mediterranean sea and incubated the eggs for seven days before and after the winter solstice. In order to facilitate this it was said the gods always made sure that the seas and winds were calmed during this period. The Greek name for Kingfisher is halcyon, leading to the term ‘halcyon days’ which was originally a reference to the calm and fine weather at this time in Greece. We now use the term to refer to fondly remembered times in our past.
Look at the difference the sunlight makes to images, like the first one compared to this one below, which was shot almost at dawn, in a slight mist, giving it a very pastel tinge.
OK, some more greek stuff....which I studied at University. I knew it would come in useful one day (40 years later in one blog...whooppeee, but hey, you have to love a good liberal arts degree, no?) The name halcyon itself comes from the Greek goddess, Alcyone who was married to Ceyx. According to legend the couple were happily married but made the mistake of calling each other Zeus and Hera, which angered the real god Zeus who in bad temper killed Ceyx by sinking his ship with a thunderbolt. On hearing this, Alcyone, wrought with grief, threw herself into the sea and drowned. Out of compassion, however, the gods later changed them both into beautiful flashing blue halcyon birds named after her and recognised in the kingfisher’s scientific name of Alcedo, after Alcyone. ahhh, bless. So bad gods, do a good turn, and its a great story. Should be a movie, with Amber Heard (who has played a sort of mermaid) and Jonny Depp (who has played a chameleon)...no? (oi, get back to Kingfishers. Edit).
OK, here we have the lovely kingfisher, with a fish he has just caught. They bang then against a branch to kill/stun them, and then take a while to try and turn it and swallow it, providing lots of opportunities for photographs.