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The Mission..

Last sunday, once again I went with bird-guru Michel Geven on Kingfisher 'hunt'. The man is incredible. He's like a bird-whisperer. Not only does he find them all, but he also captures them in the most wonderful (and skilled) way. Don't know about you guys, but it sometimes feels as if I'm the laughing-stock of birdworld; there's a collective agreement that as soon as I stick my head around the corner, they fly.. With Michel, the birds seem mezmerized and stay where they are, allowing him one gorgeous shot after another.

 

This sunday, Michel had set up the hide near a nest and apart from having a really good time talking about our upcoming trip to Iceland (we leave next friday), we were able to get some good shots. As always, when I come back, Hans has to sit through at least half an hour of enthusiasm... Meanwhile he's really good at nodding and murmering something approving at the right moments :-).

 

While doing this, outside on our terrasse, something caught my eye: a blue flash. At first I thought that I must be hallucinating (Kingfisher overdose?) because our house is located in forest area, not wet area. Then all of a sudden I heard a familiar sound; it really was a Kingfisher! We have a rather large pond right next to our house. Last year when Hans cut the trees in shape, he left one small tree standing next to that pond and he left one horizontal branch on it figuring it would be a nice bird look-out. And there he was, our very own Kingfisher, sitting on that particular branch!!

 

I nearly got a heart attack when next thing I knew, the bird took a dive in the pond, came out with a fish and started smashing it on the branch to kill it. After doing so, he flew off, only to return in 5 minutes. This went on for a couple of times. Meanwhile I had taken a dive in the shed; got out my hide and threw it over the bench that stands next to the pond.

 

Took hundreds of shots and although lovely ones, they lacked a bit of sharpness and definition because it's a tiny bird and I was just a thatch too far away. (and as you know, my sun hood is still on the bottom of the Biesbosch :-( and with the backlight, I got a bit of a haze over the pictures) So I relocated the hide to the edge of the pond, hoping that the Kingfisher would get used to it. Every day, directly after work much to the amusement of Hans, I ran to my hide, installed myself with a glass of wine and waited. But there was a problem with my set-up. Every time the Kingfisher came, my two dogs Pandour and Kookaï came looking what was going on. Which obviously didn't help. Solved the problem by letting the dogs inside the hide. Bit crowded but very cosy! :-)

 

The stationary shots were already good but my mission was to get a sharp shot of the Kingfisher smashing a fish and although I came close, the bird moves só fast that it's almost impossible to get that right especially since he invariably only comes when the light already begins to fade. But I'm really happy with the results so far. I will keep on trying but unfortunately the Kingfisher's visits are less now, yesterday and today none. But the hide is still standing, so I'm hoping on one or two more good shots this week.

 

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Taken on May 22, 2008