Simon Walker's picture

Kingfisher taking off

Observed: 10th May 2012 By: Simon WalkerSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in Birds
Kingfisher, male, taking off, Rye Meads, 2012-05-10 001a reduced

This bird was supposed to pose for me on a nearby branch. I lined up the camera, thinking, "These are going to be super shots!" What did it do? Took off as I pressed the button. Instead of a whole string of closeups, I got this one as it flew, and one which shows part of the tail and one foot, which I'm too embarrassed to show you.
Still, it's got a bit of action to it, I suppose.

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Bill Henderson's picture



What you have here is an action shot.

Make a bigger enlargement to fill more of the space and pretend that you meant it to be like this. Sit back and collect the buckets full of praise that would have come your way for artistic merit.

I've never seen a kingfisher let alone photograpgh one.

Well done.


Bill Henderson

Simon Walker's picture

Not much I can do with this one, Bill

It's cropped a bit on the right, but not at all on the left. If I'd left the area on the right there, it would've looked quite odd. It wasn't far off, and I was using a 500mm lens with a 1.4x extender, so it was quite big in the frame.
I didn't expect it to land on this branch - it normally uses one about twice as far off.
Still, if they co-operated, it would take away half the fun!
Sorry to hear you've never seen one; they do get up to Scotland I believe, but not in large numbers. But maybe that'll change - we didn't see Little Egrets here in Hertfordshire, but we do now, lots of them. Or you can come south for them. If you go to Rye Meads reserve if you're ever down south, you can pretty well count on seeing one...


Bill Henderson's picture



My "advice" was tongue in cheek. I wasn't in anyway meaning to suggest that that I could improve on your photo.

Let me be clear. I like your photo as it is and I would be happy to have it on my living room wall.

Again,well done.

There are kingfishers up here (hiding somewhere) but I haven't found them yet. Although only a few weeks away from the bus pass, I'm very new to bird watching and I am certainly no photographer :-)


Bill Henderson

Simon Walker's picture

No Offence Taken, Bill!

I was just explaining why I couldn't show more to the left. It would, as you rightly said, have looked better with the bird one third of the way in from the right, so you see where it's going, as it were. Alas, it was not to be... Grrr! ;-)

Tamsin's picture

Great shot!

I've only seen one here, in Norfolk; it flew right across my path but so fast it was just a tiny streak of orange and turquoise! I had better luck in South Africa where the pied kingfisher is most obliging, hovering above the water for several seconds before darting off to another good hovering spot.


Simon Walker's picture

Thanks, Tamsin

They're really quick, aren't they? The only in flight shots I've got have been either at take-off, or on one unique occasion when I saw two females, one dive-bombing the other, presumably over territory. I think I put it up on iSpot a while back. It's worth a look, if you can find it - I added it on 31 March 2012, though I took the shots in September last year.
I saw a kingfisher up in Norfolk once; it was at Titchwell Marsh, right up close to the beach. Too fast for a picture!
Whilst I wouldn't say that they're exactly common, we get a reasonable number in Hertfordshire. I've seen several locally. Wher this picture was taken, you can be almost sure of seeing them.