It has been a few years since I last photographed Kingfishers, spending many peaceful hours working alone in a hide on private land. Last week, when one afternoon I popped down to Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s headquarters at Wolseley Bridge, I did not set out with the intention of photographing Kingfishers. Situated on land next to the River Trent, the reserve’s star attraction are it’s resident Kingfishers that have breed for many years in the river bank on the opposite side of the river to the reserve, offering visitors excellent views from the viewing platforms on the Trust’s land.

Whilst walking around the reserve, a couple of other visitors told me that they had just seen two Kingfishers sitting in a tree near to the river bank. After a short walk, I was rewarded by the view of two male Kingfishers engaged in a territory dispute in this tree. I did not expect the dispute to last long enough for me to go to my car to get my camera gear and was content to sit by the river and watch this fascinating display.

After a quarter of an hour and with the Kingfishers still focused on each other, I began to wonder if I would have time to get my camera gear and be back before the Kingfishers left the tree. After a brisk walk, I was back at the river bank. I was surprised and pleased to see that the Kingfishers were still in the tree engaged in their dispute.

With the Kingfishers oblivious to my presence, I was able to carefully set up my camera on the edge of the river back. After an hour of photographing and watching their behaviour, with the Kingfishers still engaged in their dispute, I headed back to the car a very happy photographer.

Whilst I have photographed the Kingfishers at Wolseley Bridge before, the distance has always been a problem. However, on this occasion I was able to get close enough to the Kingfishers to make images showing them in their natural environment and portraying territorial behaviour. Being able to work without a hide with these usually very wary birds was a real pleasure.

The Unexpeted KIngfisher

For those interested in the technical details, the image was made with a Nikon D4 with a 600mm F4 lens and 1.4 Teleconverter, f8, 1/320sec at iso 1,000 and underexposed by 1 stop. The RAW image was processed in Lightroom and has not been cropped.

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