Around this time a year ago, I had never seen a kingfisher. Then during a visit to the Wolseley Centre in Staffordshire I met a man who told me that a kingfisher regularly darted up and down the river at the Centre.
I stood and waited in the exact spot where he had told me to watch. And sure enough after about half an hour, I spotted a flash of blue heading down the river. I didn’t get a good look at the kingfisher as he didn’t stop, but just seeing that flash of blue left me with a smile on my face for the rest of the day.
But as the year went on, seeing a kingfisher wasn’t enough for me. I had to photograph one. I visited the Wolseley Centre a few times, but again, I just saw a quick flash of blue. As I sat on a bench to eat my lunch the kingfisher sat on a wooden post right in front of me. But as I reached for my camera, he flew away.
Later on that year, I visited Leighton Moss, a nature reserve in Lancashire. As I walked along the Causeway early in the morning, I spotted three women standing by a tree overlooking the lake. They told me they had seen a kingfisher fly by several times, occasionally landing on a bullrush. So I stood and waited. After half an hour the three women left and I was joined by two photographers keen to get a photo of the kingfisher. It was December and it was cold. But I couldn’t take my eyes off the lake. After over three hours, he finally made an appearance, landing on a nearby bullrush and I got the photo I wanted. I left the tree with chattering teeth and made my way to the visitor centre for some well earned home made soup.
But despite being pleased with my kingfisher photo, I wanted more. I wanted a photo of a kingfisher in Staffordshire. Me and my Mum took a trip to Trentham Gardens. We had spotted a pair of kingfishers from a bird hide heading up and down the river. Thinking we were being clever, we moved closer to the river. Camera poised, I waited. Then the male appeared. Great! This is my chance. But, as soon as he spotted us, he made a u-turn and headed back down the river.
Then on 4th May 2014, I took another visit to the Wolseley Centre, my favourite place to see kingfishers in Staffordshire. It was 9.30am and I sat on a bench by the lake. I spotted the kingfisher flying past, as I normally do. But then, he stopped on the mud bank! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I quickly grabbed my camera and took as many photos as possible. After all, I wasn’t sure how long he would stay.
He flew away after about a minute, but not down the lake, but onto a tree giving me yet another opportunity to get plenty of photographs of him.
I was really pleased with the photos I got of this male kingfisher.
Male or Female?
Male kingfishers have an entirely black bill and females have red on the base of their bill.
I am sure in a few months time I will be in search of an even better photograph. I always think when photographing wildlife you are always striving for that absolutely perfect photograph. But that is what I love about it, the mission never ends.