Friday, 15 March 2013

Kingfisher - That Elusive Photograph

To say that a Kingfisher is a 'Target bird" of mine to get a passable image of would be a considerable understatement.

Part of trying to get a reasonable photograph of a Kingfisher is firstly knowing where they frequent and secondly trying to get near enough to them to achieve that. You would think that because they are so bright and colourful that you can find them easily. Problem is they almost always see you first and are gone like flash, in fact the blue flash is all you ever see. They detect the slightest movement.

I know for one such place in the Parkland where I walk as do my local Birding colleagues. However its not approachable without being observed by the bird. Recently I worked out a way in which I may be able to get in one shot before it flew off.  I managed to get the images below by getting into an initial position behind a bramble bush and moving forward very slowly a step at a time. I was wearing clothing that blended with the background, not that this is much help usually where the Kingfisher is concerned.

At this point I noticed the flash of electric blue as the bird dived from its perch into the water to get a fish. That was my chance to move forward another step, which was as far as I could go. I was in the open by this time. It was a matter of standing still for about 30 minutes with the camera almost in the ready position, while the bird dived every few minutes for a fish. I say bird, as I didn't know initially that I had actually photographed two birds (A Pair). The distance was such that I could only partially see a bird diving and back on to the perch and it was not always the same perch. Often the bird disappeared altogether. 

Anyway, here they are. 
The male is the one on the left as you look at the image. His beak is completely black where as the females lower mandible is orange-red.













At one stage the male flew to a closer perch, but this was obscured by part of the bush as you can see from these two images below.




34 comments:

  1. Ha, I know just what you mean! I've been trying for years!! We have the Belted Kingfisher where I live and it's often perched on the telephone wire overlooking the harbor, but I want pictures of it in a more natural setting!! I see a lot of the when I'm paddling my kayak, but as you say, they are always one step ahead of me!! Great shots!

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  2. This is a bird that I have trouble with too Roy. Been trying for years, and gradually getting there.
    Well done with these, I know just how hard they are.

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  3. How exciting! Great series of series. Congrats on getting your target bird.

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  4. Hey Roy...Wow it is a wonder you was able to hold a camera still..it sounds like you was pretty darn excited!! ; )
    You got some fabulous photos, oh my goodness the one in flight is amazing !!
    Yeah for you!!
    Grace

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  5. You did wonderful...and the flying shot is cool! They are so pretty....more teal then the blue of our Kingfisher. I know how you feel. The few times I have seen a kingfisher, they have either been really far away, or took off when I saw them. Sometimes I hear them before I see them. I have had one or two half-way decent shots, but don't get many chances. I know there are some at the wetlands at certain times of the year, but seldom get lucky enough to see one.

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  6. Great pics Roy :-) I'm sorry I haven't been commenting this week as I've been busy with various other things, but I've just been enjoying a catch up of your recent posts. The pair of Bullfinches were particularly good to see :-)

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  7. Brilliant Roy. I bet you were really chuffed that they stayed in view long enough.

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    1. Thanks John.
      I think I could have got more as they where at home, but the position I was in I wouldn't have achieved much more.

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  8. Very nice Roy! Glad to see that the pair are doing okay at FM, haven't seen either for a while, I must pay a visit some time!
    J
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

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    1. Thanks John. Your digi-scoping would have been good.

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  9. Wonderful! Our Belted Kingfisher is a tought one to catch, too. I'm glad you got your prize.

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    1. Thanks Steve, its been a long time coming.

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  10. Very well done Roy, some good strategy there ;-) I've never been lucky enough to get a photo, indeed just a glimpse of one would be nice! Great captures, love the one with the whirl of blue as it took off.

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  11. Wow! You got quite a few there, sometimes it helps to think things through until you have a plan, although the birds always win somehow. I hope their babies won't be washed away in any floods this year, last year was a bad year for most birds. I'm looking forward to the cheeky squirrels returning to our garden, should be any day now, and try to get some good photos with the new camera.

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    1. Thanks Helena, I hope there won't be any floods this year.
      Looking forward to seeing your squirrel shots.

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  12. Really super Roy,

    I've had the pleasure of once a kingfisher and you've got here just two in a photo. Truly a wonderful series where you justly be proud.

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    1. Thanks Helma, yes I was pleased to get these.

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  13. Wow Roy! Very well deserved shots you got! I can imagine the big grin on your face for the rest of the day........probably the rest of the week in fact! (-: I love the wings in motion one......actually I love all of them and am very envious. I get them down at my local reserve sometimes, but as you say, getting close enough for shots is another matter.....maybe one day.

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  14. Roy, just brilliant! You were so patient! These birds are just gorgeous and with their bright, flashy colors and long beaks they almost remind me of giant hummingbirds! That is...until they fly!

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  15. Very nice images. I see these all the time when kayaking but I have yet to take a photograph worth posting.

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    1. Thanks John, I was very fortunate to get these.

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  16. these are amazing....I am jealous!! What colors!!!

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  17. Oh well done Roy... your cunning plan paid off - great shots!! Love the blurry image as the bird flew off!

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