A beautiful blue Kingfisher appears frozen in time as a winter cold front dubbed the “Beast From The East” turns canals and ponds into crystal-clear ice.
The common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is a sparrow-sized bird native to Europe, Eurasia and North Africa so it's no surprise to see one in the Dutch town of Oostzaan, located just north of Amsterdam. It IS a surprise, on the other hand, to see this familiar bird frozen solid in crystal-clear ice.
Kingfishers don't like ice – they usually migrate south from regions where cold winter weather freezes the rivers in which they catch their meals. We can't say this unfortunate avian was procrastinating on the migrating, however. Most of Europe has been virtually blindsided by “The Beast From The East”, a record-breaking cold front that's unleashed bitterly chill Siberian air over most of Western Europe.
As temperatures plunged past the freezing point, Holland's famous canals and associated waterways flash-froze solid, often within hours. The region's wildlife were caught unaware as this sadly beautiful kingfisher illustrates.
Christoph van Ingen was skating on a frozen ditch in Oostzaan, north of Amsterdam, when he came across the kingfisher. “I saw something blue under the ice and stopped skating,” explained van Ingen. “Then I took the photos.”
Experts on animal behavior think the kingfisher may have dived into the semi-frozen water to catch a fish, and was then unable to find its way out again. It's undetermined whether the fish got away or was itself locked away in winter's icy grip. (via Tech2 and De Orkaan)