filed in Wildlife on Saturday 28th Aug 2010
With its beautiful bright colours of greenish blue, bright blue, orange with a dash of red thrown in, small and plump body, tiny tail, perching motionless on the lookout for fish, the Kingfisher is just so beautiful, and for me the bird has to be the most colourful and stunningly beautiful looking bird with have within our shores. A bird that would not look out of place in the rain forest of South American such is their beauty. Despite this amazing display of colours the bird can be very difficult to see or pick out when perched motionless in the shadow on a waterside branch.
A rather shy and restless bird the Kingfisher is one bird I have spent quite a bit of my time on over the last few years, trying to get near and hopefully photograph but most if not all my attempts have failed due to various disturbance from dog walkers, children playing etc, in which to many chances have fallen by the wayside upon me having sited a place and began watching these amazing birds. I was hopefully trying to build a picture of where they fish and spend their time etc. But over the last month nearly now I have been working on a site which is situated on a private stretch of the river Trent, not far from my Staffordshire home, where a pair of Kingfishers live in complete peace from the hustle and bustle of modern Britain.
So over the last 3-4 weeks I have spent most if not all my free time hidden from view in my hide, watching them from the riverbank,where they fish,fly to,roost,perch etc hoping to encourage them to use a couple of perches I had put into this area. At first all they did was fly past,up and down the river,giving me some lovely examples of their behaviour, where they are chasing the young away at present that they have successfully reared this year. My first indicator they were around was their short,sharp whistled ‘zil’ which pieced through the contestant noise you get from a fast flowing river.
At first they used their own perches to fish from,sometimes using the brickwork from an old bridge that had fallen into this part of the river making for a very usually setting for this pair of Kingfishers to fish,clean from.As the weeks passed they started to land on my perches for a split second at first,almost testing to see if they where real, pausing for a second and looking straight ahead into my hide then flying off, each time staying just that bit longer. I never moved my camera or lens during these first stages of building trust as I let them relax, feel comfortable about this strange camouflaged hide that had just turned up.
I have always loved to watch and capture behaviour in wildlife, its the best form of knowledge you can gain from the subject while watching them in their natural environment, learning so much first hand and allowing you a window into their very private and personnel lives, something that as a wildlife photographer I feel is a real privilege and a great honour to see. This alongside capturing wild animals in their natural habitats are two major factors in my style of wildlife photography, where I always try to give the subject space to breath, illustrating through my photographs where and how they conduct their lives, then by showing people that may never get the chance to see this behaviour whats around you and the beauty that is the natural world.
The background was the dark bridge and tree line and the light was nearly almost on the perches most of the day, all I had to do now is wait with the occasional head roll where I dropped off for a split second having entered the hide in the dark and leaving in the dark with the onset of the darker days now.
The birds came and I was amazed at the colours and beauty of these birds, I particularly liked their little orange, slipper-like feet, which are some of the smallest feet I have seen in the bird world. They’d land and stayed still for sometime before moving, their eyesight is amazing seeing fish below them, diving and returning to the perch in a flash, I have been amazed by these birds I have been after for nearly two years now and they didn’t disappoint not at all.
I hope to be able to carry on photographing these Kingfishers for as long as I can and hopefully they’ll stay here through the winter months but they are really susceptible to prolonged freezing and Arctic-type winters,which have in the past decimated the population here in the UK. Fortunately, the Kingfisher has a high reproductive rate and a pair may rear three broods in a single season. As a result, numbers are soon replenished which has keep the numbers up during our really cold spell at the beginning of the year. Where many Kingfishers escaped the cold and frozen lakes,rivers and went to the coastal areas of the UK to feed and live, sitting out the frozen landscape the kept Britain freezing for many months.
Since I have come back from the Birdfair I have’nt stopped, a Dipper One To One, thank you to Steve Wood, and working on the Kingfisher time has gone so quickly. I’ll had a lot of interest in my workshops I run so a big thank you to everyone who has enquired and booked where my Texel trip is now full and my Winter Waders also. There is places left on Magic Of Mull, Tigers Of India, Amazing Africa, Spring Waders for next year still and I have updated my other Workshops with dates until next summer. With the Dippers and Puffins One day workshops still being really popular.
I have also updated my One To Ones with the seasons now changing from Spring/Summer to Autumn/Winter. I have a great new site for Mountain Hares in the Peak District, Rutting Red and Fallow Deer sites in Cheshire,Leicestershire. My High Tide/Barn Owls days in Norfolk are very popular and I have dates each month now until next March. Whooper Swans on the North-West coast a project I worked on last year and so much fun photographing our most handsome and beautiful Winter visitor, so much going on with the beautiful colours of the Autumn to.I also have some other amazing trips that I am planning and going through at the moment so more news on these different photo-tours in the future
I have another display at the Pavilion Gardens, Buxton next weekend also so if you are in the area on Saturday, Sunday 4th,5th September then please pop in to say hello, these are great shows in a lovely settings, where I will have on show a selection of my work in various different formats and gift vouchers making the perfect present with Christmas approaching fast, these professionally printed gift vouchers can be exchanged for any item on my Website and they come with a black envelope, signed by myself and are valued for 6 months and are posted out to you perfect for that special occasion.
It’s a great time of year now with the changing seasons,changing colours just starting to happen, our Spring,Summer wildlife leaving for warmer climates as we welcome our Winter vistors as they spend their winters in the Uk. Lots happening so don’t be put off with the darker mornings and colder weather, make the time and go outdoors to capture the amazing wildlife and you will be greatly rewarded with the beauty of nature we have and that changes throughout the different seasons making for some breathtaking photography.I wish you all the best and should you want any information on the topics raised here or general questions regarding Wildlife Photography then please send me an email on my contact page all the best.