You will recall a teaser I shared [A taster of what's to come] a short while back while I was in North Wales with family, well, here's the first of two very exciting moments for me, both from the same reserve.
I've seen kingfishers fly past lots of times, but never been able to grab a photo, not one photo.
My introduction to The Spinnies was seeing someone else's photos, so I enquired more and it seemed worth a visit, particularly as I was due in N Wales not too long after.
So I did.
Once parked up in the layby, I spotted the first sign to the reserve, a short 40 mtrs walk away and I was soon inside the cosy wooden hide, a well used and well maintained hide, confronted by a lovely view, complete with perch for kingfishers.
Typical, I'd just got in to the hide and a kingie flies straight past, while the camera was still in my kit bag!
Well, I'm used to that happening, so I settled down to see what else I would see. There were mallards, little grebes and a host of other regulars, even the feeders close to the hide were busy, chaffinches, goldfinches, sparrow and many more.
I got my self set up, and not before long, a little egret flew in.
Nothing special, or so I thought, until closer look through the binoculars revealed it didn't have yellow feet!
It had pale almost grey feet, and the light was very good, so that wouldn't have any impact on the colouring...
I am, so if anyone has any ideas, feel free to share them, or even if I've misidentified the egret.....
I'm a patient man when it comes to nature, for nature has it's own agenda and rarely is on parade when we want it to be, so I set the camera up on the Joby 5K Kit, pointing at the knigie perch, pre-focused etc, remote release connected, so if one should land or make fleeting visit, I can still look around and just press the button...
While I was waiting, I picked up a leaflet on the rack in the hide, about the reserve, and noticed there was another hide, almost at the opposite end, and felt this other hide was worth a visit.
While I was thinking, someone came into the hide asking if I'd seen a kingie, and I told them of my brief sighting. He then said there was a kingie very active at the other hide. I needed no more encouragement, I had to investigate.
The other hide, I thing is called the main hide, is also easy to access, in fact both hides are very easy to access, though the first hide I went into has steps, so it would be difficult for wheelchair visitors. However, the main hide, a good path and no steps.
So I packed my kit up and wandered around, to a breeze block built hide, with view from two sides, one over the ponds, the other over the mouth of the Aber Ogwen.
The two people in there were concentrating on the pond side, so I took my seat and patiently had a nosey out. It wasn't long before someone spotted a kingie and pointed out where it was!
Camera poised, I managed to get quite a few photos, though being a small bird, it was at the limits of the Sigma lens, but I snapped away, in hope of at least one photo.....
The first photo isn't cropped to give an idea of the view I had, while the remainder are varying cropping depending on the quality of the photo.
My first kingie on photo!
The following photos are cropped according to clarity.
Just like crossing the road, "look left"
"Dive Dive Dive!"
Not a brilliant photo, unfortunately the autofocus locked on to the branches, but you can make out the kingie has a fish...
If this was the best action shot I'd get, I'd be chuffed with this one, I never expected to get a decent one of a kingie diving, but this took my breath away when I saw it...
Been fishing, the kingie way.... (for those old enough to remember the old Findus adverts...)
Time to digest lunch....
This next one did take my breath away!
"Coming up for air!" or should that be lunch?
Well, I was like a dog with 22 tails!
Beginners luck or not, it made my day, and for the following photos...
A final end of show pose....
Flickr Peak Rambler
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
Lot to learn
In reply to HAZY:
HAZY said:Certainly worth the wait for your photos Mike ! wonderful set and plenty of KF action; another place to add to my "to visit" list.
It certainly was worth the wait, and rest assured, I'll be back again one day, most likely next year now.
In reply to James:
James G said:Looking at the first picture Mike there looks to be some mud or clay just below the Egret, could this be sticking on the Egrets feet I had a picture of one that had black legs because it was standing in mud when it flew off, and nice captures of the Kingfisher they are a very nice looking bird.
That is a strong possibility James.
When I had a proper look from the other hide the following day at the Aber Ogwen, an estuary that flows into the Menai Strait, it did have greyish mud when the tide is out. I think the tide had probably freshly exposed that mud level (as in below water at high tide level) not long before the LE came in.
In reply to Nigel O:
Nigel O said:An excellent start for your Kingfisher portfolio! I understand there are two reasons for Little Egrets having less bright feet (apart from just not washing them before posing), so your bird is either an adult in full winter-wear, when the colour fades or a youngster when the colour hasn't yet fully developed. It doesn't have any chest plumes either, so it definitely isn't in breeding plumage, which would fit.
Another possibility, in conjunction with James' the possibility of mud, could possibly be both. as the tide hadn't long dropped to a suitable level to reveal the greyish mud.
In reply to gaynorsl:
gaynorsl said:Very well done Mike, no wonder you are pleased, fabulous photos of the Kingfisher, especially the "Dive, dive dive" one and the last posing on the tree trunk. The hides are very good aren't they, I believe there is another just finished this year too.. I should have gone over yesterday when the weather was superb, today it has been wet and cold and I was recovering from baby sitting last night anyway, comes to something when the "kids" want to stay up later than the sitter, I nearly had to get my stern voice out!!
Thank you Gaynor. I couldn't quite remember who it was who mentioned the reserve, but I had an inclining it was your good self, and I'm grateful of the mention.
The wooden hide is very nice and cosy, and I like the cushions supplied for visitors so they can sit comfortably. It's definitely on my list for a return visit, kingie or not.
In reply to PimperneBloke:
PimperneBloke said:Properly good pics there Mike, well done. My turn to be jealous of you!!
Thank you PB.
It was probably beginners luck for me.....
Joking aside, the pond is set up for kingies, along with other varieties, with decent perch point so they can look down on the water, something the two local reserves don't have. I got the impression as regular visitors to the reserve nipped in to the hides, that there was a strong kingie presence.
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