This year I promised myself that I would get out more locally.
The National lockdown that we found ourselves placed in again from Christmas made this promise easier to keep.
I visited RSPB Barons Haugh a few times over previous years and was always amazed at what an amazing amount of wildlife was found there. I often planned to spend more time there and never did, but from the beginning of January I visited every Saturday. I had read posts on social media that a kingfisher was being seen a lot near the Marsh Hide.
I had seen kingfishers before but never photographed them, I had some ideas of shots that i wanted, but had no idea whether it would be possible.
At the beginning the kingfisher was fishing and perching to the left of the hide. It was a reasonable distance away, but using the Nikon D850 DX crop function and my 600mm lens I was able to get some nice shots. One day in particular with the light being particularly good. Over the weeks I was able to capture images to the right of the hide where it was closer and on one morning was able to capture various images of the kingfisher sat on the reeds eating fish that it had just dived for. After 6 weeks I took some of my best images. I was actually about to leave and then the kingfisher flew to the right and landed quite close to the hide on a post in the water, I took some shots of it perched on the post and then it started to fish, and I was able to get some images of it diving in to the water and flying.
The diving shots were captured by focusing on a section of water where you thought that the kingfisher would dive, and then when it hit the water you just snapped away. It was very hit and miss, but a few of the images were acceptable (Thanks to Derek McSwan for teaching me this).
I returned 2 more Saturday’s after this and didn’t see it. Apparently someone witnessed a sparrow hawk nearly kill it when it was sat on a post so it could have been disturbed. Or it could just have decided to fish somewhere else.
Over this 8 week period in January and February I was able to get most of the images that I wanted.
It made me really appreciate what is available locally and the amount of wildlife that is very close by but it also made me rediscover a passion for photography again.
Over the weeks that I spent there I met some really nice and interesting people with common interests and one of these people – Derek I regularly meet up with now to do some photography.
Check out Derek’s photography Facebook page on the link below