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Together with a friend I visited German wildlife photographer Manfred Delpho in a bid to photograph the elusive Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis). Personally I think the kingfisher is one of the most beautiful birds in Europe, though with one downside... it is very fast. Usually you hear its sharp whistle and then it shoots by in a blue blurry line. We where very lucky to have a female kingfisher visiting our photo spot several times. You can tell the gender because of her orange colored lower mandible (while the male has a black one).

We had a absolutely great day even though the temperature was -15 °C. Despite wearing 6 layers of clothes, thermo underwear, two pairs of pants, two pairs of socks and huddling in a blanket... at the end of the day I simply couldn't feel my toes anymore. At the 6th International Nature Photo Festival - which I attended last week - someone made some dismissive comments about photo's picturing 'birds on a stick'. Sure, the kingfisher is photographed several thousand times already. Nothing new here either! That did not change the great experience we had however of observing this beautiful creature. I therefore proudly present to you my 'bird on a stick' photo's :)

Traditional kingfisher pose. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/160, f/5.6, iso 200, tripod.
Traditional kingfisher pose. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/160, f/5.6, iso 200, tripod.

A kingfisher having caught two moderlieschen. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/5.6, iso 400, tripod.
A kingfisher having caught two moderlieschen. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/5.6, iso 400, tripod.

Danger overhead? Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 250, tripod.
Danger overhead? Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 250, tripod.

A kingfisher with a moderlieschen. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 160, tripod.
A kingfisher with a moderlieschen. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 160, tripod.

Just before take-off. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 100, tripod.
Just before take-off. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 100, tripod.

Stretching... Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.
Stretching... Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.

Bird on a stick :) Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.
Bird on a stick :) Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.

Ignoring the camera. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.
Ignoring the camera. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.

Did I see something? Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 100, tripod.
Did I see something? Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 100, tripod.

Sunbathing. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 100, tripod.
Sunbathing. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/400, f/5.6, iso 100, tripod.

Taking off. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.
Taking off. Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/5.6, iso 320, tripod.
 


This video shows an Eurasian kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) diving into the water and catching a moderlieschen (Leucaspius delineatus). Normally this happens in a blink of an eye. Using Canon's Powershot S100 high-speed video capture (120 fps) it is possible to see what is happening.



New photos: Study of a kingfkisher