I absolutely adore Kingfishers as you may be aware. Over the years they have been quite an obsession for me. On the local brook in early autumn I had photographed an adult male - the resident this year - quite a tatty bird who was in a moult and had a claw missing, it looked as though he had experienced quite a hard breeding season but he would probably be looking quite good by now. The photo above is a female and she has led me a merry dance. I first saw her exactly 33 days ago and have been trying to photograph her ever since. Persistence and patience is something that I am quite good at but I didn't expect it to take this long to get a photograph of her. I was keen to photograph this bird because it would give me an insight in to the size of the territories of the Kingfishers on my local brook. In fact the nearest I had got to her was the first day I saw her, but, because of my cataract I couldn't tell whether it was a male or female. I didn't have my camera with me at that time and when I returned several times on the following days, expecting it to perch in front of my camera, it just didn't happen. I "ramped up" my quest and placed a heavy branch across the brook and was absolutely certain that any self respecting Kingfisher would not be able to resist it. Yesterday when I arrived, there it was on the perch as I expected but as soon as she saw me, off she zoomed. If I wasn't in tune with Kingfishers I wouldn't even have seen her, as is always usual with Kingfishers, she saw me first and flew off immediately. I was confident though that if I sat down quietly nearby and camouflaged of course, I would certainly be lucky. I saw her return but she didn't land on the branch and I was certain that she saw me, my camo wasn't good enough apparently. This called for some serious action! Using some dead Himalayan balsam and dock, I built a crude hide by pocking them in to the mud in a rough square and bent the tops over to make a roof. Then when I went back today I also covered myself with a back hide and I was pretty sure that this would do the trick. At first, after just 10 minutes or so, the resident and very wary Grey Heron flew in and landed in the stream just in front of me and I knew that the camouflage was working well. The Heron stayed for 20 minutes without finding anything to eat and eventually tried on the grass behind before flying off to try elsewhere but not before giving me some good photo opportunities.
As my wait for the Kingfisher continued - with my feet starting to lose feeling with my wellies stuck in the cold water - I saw a Kingfisher twice and she still didn't perch where I wanted it to, then I heard one calling nearby, it was getting quite frustrating. I decided to give myself until 2.30 which would have been a 2 hour 30 minute session. Then, suddenly there it was. The light was about the worse it had been in the entire time I had been there, but I was thrilled verging on the ecstatic when my patience and planning had yet again paid off. She didn't stay long but long enough for me to take some photos and see that it was a bird that I hadn't seen before. It was a great result and I was very pleased with the end result of a cold an uncomfortable session.