The Sid Valley Biodiversity Group has designed a new logo for themselves based on the Kingfisher. I wonder if they realised the stories of unconditional loyalty that are told about this bird.

The Byes always has something to delight you. If you are very lucky you might catch a flash of blue, or even if you stand still and hold your breath you might see that blue poised on a branch, ready to dive down to catch something in the water. A Kingfisher! I’ve lived here for over 10 years and never seen a kingfisher, but I’ve seen the delight on the faces of people who have. It's one of the four birds that Noah sent out from the ark. Originally a plain grey bird, it flew up into heaven to scan across the waters looking for land. It went so high the sun burned its chest giving its present tint, and the blue from the sky was so strong it stays reflected in its back.

There is a Greek myth that tells the story of two lovers – Alcyone and Ceyx. Their love was so strong they felt like gods and playfully referred to each other as Hera and Zeus. However, Zeus was very angry that anyone should compare themselves to him – the king of the gods – and his wife! How dare they. He waited until Ceyx bid farewell to his wife and sailed across the sea to consult the Oracle. Zeus saw his chance and with one thrust of his thunderbolt, there came such a storm that Ceyx’s ship floundered and began to sink. Ceyx, knowing he would drown, called out to the gods to let his body wash up on the shore of his homeland so that his wife could bury him with full honours.

In the meantime, Alcyone prayed to Hera, queen of the gods, for the safe return of her husband. Hera knew of the fate that Zeus had inflicted on Ceyx, and she felt sorrow for Alcyone. She asked Morpheus to use his enchantments to tell Alcyone what had happened. He created a spectre that looked like Ceyx, who came to her in a dream and told everything. When she awoke, she ran down to the seashore, searched amongst the rocks and found the body of Ceyx. She fell upon him, wailed, and implored the gods to bring him back to life. Even her tears did nothing, and she had to accept that he was dead. She arranged his funeral, with all full honours and rituals.

The days were long without her beloved, and she went down to the sea determined to join her husband in the land of the dead. Some people said they could see Ceyx rise from the waves to greet her, and they entwined to be forever in the seas. The other gods were furious that Zeus could be so petty and try to destroy a love that went beyond death. In retribution, Zeus transformed the lovers into birds, kingfishers; also known as Halcyons from Alcyone.

What I like about both stories of the Kingfisher is the theme of unconditional loyalty. The kingfisher from the ark had a job to do, it pushed itself to the furthest extreme and even though it was burned from doing the job it persisted. Similarly, the love that Alcyone and Ceyx had for each other transcended the punishments of the gods. I don’t expect the Sid Valley Biodiversity group to go to the extremes of reaching so high as to burn itself, nor to throw themselves into the sea for the love of biodiversity, but that sense of unconditional loyalty bodes well for the community and the environment.