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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 27 Apr 2014 (Sunday) 16:28
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kingfishers... whats the deal?!?!

 
Lichter21c
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Apr 27, 2014 16:28 |  #1

ok... so you guys get some AMAZING kingfisher photos on here. I found a local area that seems to have 2-3 living in the general vicinity. I have been trying to get some photos of them but they are so skittish!

I could use any help at all!.

I use a "ghille" poncho and have a sleeve for my lens. I usually wait around 1-2 hours for them to come back... but they never do




  
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johnf3f
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Apr 27, 2014 20:16 |  #2

I would suggest you go out with your binoculars and have a look around to see the parts of the river they frequent, if you discover the nest site then stay away from it! They tend to track up and down the river for a fair distance so put up a nice perch for them. Select a nice photogenic stick (one with some moss on it looks good) and anchor it securely over a fairly shallow (a foot or so) area.then leave it for a few days.
Now the hard bit! Get up at stupid o'clock so you can get yourself set up before or at dawn (bring a flask of coffee - you will need it!) then wait............ and wait. Then go home with no shots! Repeat this a few times and you will get them! Kingfishers are all about staying still and being patient, just ask a fisherman how many times they have had Kingfishers perch on their fishing rods.
Prepare, get up early, be patient and you will be rewarded.


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

  
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Lichter21c
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Apr 28, 2014 07:50 |  #3

Thank you! I am going to go find a perch today if it ever stops raining




  
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Nighthound
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Apr 28, 2014 08:09 |  #4

Kingfishers have been one of my most challenging subjects over the years, they've also been one of the most satisfying. The difficulties they present make the successes much sweeter than those from the less skittish types. John3f offers very good advice, especially concerning nesting birds. Stress can drive them away from their burrow/nesting area. Give them the time they need and soon there'll be more birds to photograph, a win-win.

A few years ago I wrote this article for Wildlife South. It describes my approach, from my set up to techniques that may help you get the shots you're after. You don't need to spend a bundle on a blind but you do need to keep in mind that it won't remove the bird's fear completely. It will disguise the human form and that's enough of an edge to get the shots. Be patient, persistent and try your best not to let them see you come and go from the location, that way they won't associate a human with the cover/blind of your choice. Good luck.

There's a link at the bottom of this article with more Kingfisher images in a larger gallery.
http://www.wildlifesou​th.com …11/Belted_Kingf​isher.html (external link)


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Lichter21c
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Apr 28, 2014 16:35 |  #5

Thank you! Very informative. I went out and scouted my ideal location. I managed to find a pretty mossy branch that I extended over the water.

I work 2nd shift and have a rotating schedule. I am off Friday morning, so if there is going to be sunlight. I will be there before sunrise.

Thank you for the advice. I will most definitly post on my results.




  
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johnf3f
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Apr 28, 2014 16:37 |  #6

Good luck!


Life is for living, cameras are to capture it (one day I will learn how!).

  
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Paulstw
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Apr 29, 2014 08:45 as a reply to  @ johnf3f's post |  #7

Be prepared to get very additive to this. Once you go in you may never return. I'm still at it and it's been a whole year now.

I don't know what the laws are like in your country, however, in the UK we need a special license to be able to go anywhere near the nest, so best checking.

Anyway, whether there's a law or not, the Kingfisher is extremely sensitive to humans near their nest. Don't go near it for any length of time and don't stay long unless you're hidden. They will abandon their young in the nest if they feel threatened.

You'll get loads of great advice from seasoned pros on here no doubt, however, I'd ask myself what pics you want to get?

If you want food passes, mating and interaction then it's the nest site for that sort of thing. It's likely to be all over by now so you may have missed it. If it's just perched on a stick 5-10m away then you'll need some sort of baiting pool and expect it to be a long process for the kingy to fish from it.

I set up a pool during the winter with the river flooding next to the river in an overspill stream. I just made a pool in the stream out of dirt and leaves, put minnows in it by way of trapping them and the kingfisher took about a week to regularly fish from it.

A 400mm lens will mean you'll need to be within about 5-7m away to get Full frame shots with minimal crops for composition. Anything further away and you reduce that. I can get about 15ft from a king without the need for a hide but that's only when you get to know their spots.

They will tolerate you being there if they fly close to you, however, don't expect to just wander up to one with a long lens.

It's a weird time to get into it as they are normally in the nest on eggs, so in the next month or so they'll have fledging young to chase down lol.

Honestly though, be prepared to sleep, eat and breathe this stuff for a while as you'll need it :)




  
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Lichter21c
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May 02, 2014 16:49 |  #8

Well, I went out today. It wasn't very fruitful... but I am 100% positive it would of been different if I didn't use my pop up blind. It is fairly large, and they were hesitant to come closer to me. Plus it was heavily overcast today

Ideally, I would like to set it up and leave it for an extended period of time. unfortunately, that it not an option for me. So next time I am going to use my "grille" poncho I have. Most of the time the wild life cannot see me at all when i am wearing that. it will be hard to say still for that long.

I don't have much time off for a while.. I am going to try again on monday if the weather permits




  
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myphotographic
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May 03, 2014 04:17 |  #9

I can only speak regarding the Common Kingfisher that we get in the UK, but there's a lot of baiting associated with Kingfisher photos. Because the way they tend to wander over their range, the ability to instead get them to keep returning to the desired perch is a massive boon. If you want obtain on of those action shots as the bird breaks the water, bait means you can actually know which small area the bird might dive.

I few years ago I want to a talk of Andy Rouse and at one point he showed a kingfisher action shot. He discussed whether people knew baiting was behind so many kingfisher photos, then said that he had reached the point where he felt it was unfair on the fish and so he wasn't currently doing it.

I've once joined an acquaintance who has a bait setup but generally I'm on the fence over baiting. If it's not illegal in your part of the world, it ends up being something individuals need to decide if they're comfortable with. It's definitely not something that should be done on a whim or in a half-cocked manner that ends up bad for the birds.


Paul

  
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2slo
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May 03, 2014 05:29 as a reply to  @ myphotographic's post |  #10

I've never been comfortable with baiting birds to get photographs. I've found that patience and careful approach can get the desired shots and I can then look at what I've got knowing the bird has chosen to be where it was without my influence or persuasion. Like just about any other bird, if you try to approach a Kingfisher, it will fly away. On the other hand, as suggested above, if you do your research and see where they are landing and sit and wait, you may well be rewarded. The shot below was taken after waiting a couple of hours patiently concealed in a hide:

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5523/14088775093_968b54978b_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/nsYD​Zp  (external link) Kingfisher (external link) by 2slo7 (external link), on Flickr



  
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Lichter21c
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May 03, 2014 07:53 |  #11

I'm generally against baiting. It's fairly unethical and risks the life of the bird and species.

I like to do my work the old fashion way. I just need to be more hidden and more patient. I did see a belted king fisher fishing roughly 100 yards away. I am going to attempt to get closer to that spot next time.




  
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Nighthound
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May 03, 2014 10:05 as a reply to  @ Lichter21c's post |  #12

2slo wrote in post #16878919 (external link)
I've never been comfortable with baiting birds to get photographs. I've found that patience and careful approach can get the desired shots and I can then look at what I've got knowing the bird has chosen to be where it was without my influence or persuasion. Like just about any other bird, if you try to approach a Kingfisher, it will fly away. On the other hand, as suggested above, if you do your research and see where they are landing and sit and wait, you may well be rewarded. The shot below was taken after waiting a couple of hours patiently concealed in a hide:

QUOTED IMAGE
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/nsYD​Zp  (external link) Kingfisher (external link) by 2slo7 (external link), on Flickr

Big fan of your work Mark, stunning shot.


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May 03, 2014 10:15 |  #13

2slo wrote in post #16878919 (external link)
I've found that patience and careful approach can get the desired shots and I can then look at what I've got knowing the bird has chosen to be where it was without my influence or persuasion.

This is how a shot earns top tier value in my collection. Well said Mark.


Steve
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2slo
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May 03, 2014 10:25 as a reply to  @ Nighthound's post |  #14

Thanks very much Steve, that means a lot coming from you :)




  
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May 03, 2014 11:02 |  #15

Awesome thread! Thanks for the informative posts.


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kingfishers... whats the deal?!?!
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