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This morning, I was up at sunrise, drank a coffee, took the dog for a walk, had breakfast and then headed down to the Kingfisher Hide I built yesterday. Portuguese for Kingfisher is Guarda-rios, but translates to River Ranger/Guard.

I approached slowly and quietly and the perch was not empty, the Kingfisher was already there. I stopped, it stopped, we stared at each other for what felt like an hour but was probably more like 5 seconds before it flew away. I made sure that it had cleared the area totally before approaching the hide. I didn’t want to scare it away for good.

I squeezed into the hide and set myself up for a long wait. The long wait wasn’t needed, within about 5 minutes the Kingfisher was back but it looked a little confused, it knew something had changed and it flew to the next river pool about 25 metres away. I sat and watched it dive into the water catching small fish and eating them. At this moment, I really couldn’t care if it didn’t come to the perch, I was happy enough just sitting there watching it. However, soon enough it came back to the perch and didn’t seem bothered of my presence, although I was well hidden. It was a very still morning, not even a breeze so my next concern was the noise of the shutter, would it scare it. The D810 was in “quiet” mode which tries to limit the noise of the shutter, I fired off a shot, it didn’t disturb the bird at all.

I spent the next hour sat there watching it dive, sometimes successful, sometimes not. It did have a good feed. I waited until breakfast was over and it flew away before leaving. I was using my 300mm f/2.8 lens fitted with a 1.7 teleconverter as I still await the return of my 500mm f/4 from repair. I’m pretty happy with the quality of the shots considering, but looking forward to the return of my 500mm f/4. The only problem I see is getting into the hide with the size of the 500mm f/4. My next goal is to capture a usable shot of the Kingfisher with a fish in its mouth, I did get some, but not good enough.

At first, I thought this was a Male Kingfisher due to the lack of orange lower beak. However, on closer look, I think this is a juvenile Female as there is a little colour appearing underneath.

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Kingfisher - Guarda-rios


Kingfisher - Guarda-rios

This last photo I decided not to crop in to try and show how small these birds are. Most photos of Kingfishers are usually tightly cropped and it’s sometimes difficult to understand how small they are. They are often referred to as “Sparrow Sized”, but due to their long beak and fatter body, I think this description is not accurate. They are larger than a Sparrow, but still only grow to around 16cm.

Kingfisher - Guarda-rios

As a photographer, it’s really satisfying to achieve a goal, however, what is more satisfying about these photos is the work involved over the last 2 weeks from accidentally recording this bird, monitoring and building a hide to capture the photos. I hope to spend a lot more time over the next few weeks getting to know her better.

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