Last weekend I found a Bittern by accident, when I was on my way to the fishing ponds. I went back several times to see if it was still there, but could not relocate it. Instead, I found a female Kingfisher in the very industrious process of catching a decent meal for the day. She had taken temporary residence at the smallest pond of the complex. Because of an open overflow from a larger pond, it was the only pond in the area with open water. Not unimportantly, it also boasts a healthy population of Ide (Leuciscus idus; Goudwinde). At first, the Kingfisher was rather shy and seemed disturbed by even the slightest movement of the lens, so I backed off. This weekend however, she did not care at all about my presence and happily caught six Ides in the four hours we spent together over the course of two days. I even photographed her in a snow flurry, but the background colors are too light to really show the falling snow.
The funny thing is, that I found the Bittern again when returning home after a session with the Kingfisher. Isn’t it always like that? Things happen when you least expect it. I was happy to see that it did well and caught a large fish that went down whole. Unfortunately, it all happened out of camerasight, because moments earlier the Bittern decided that the fishing waters were better at my side of the stream. I could not see the waters edge because of the steep bank. Every now and then, the Bittern would raise its head to check the surroundings and those were the moments I had to act fast. I even had to back off because it came within the minimum focus distance of my lens. Quite an experience and I got some very nice headshots. Now, winter has gone, but served me well, the opportunities that were offered to me really exceeded my expectations. For my fisherman’s friends, I am happy that the ice will now quickly recede so they can go back to the areas they call home outside of the ice age.
Common Kingfisher; Canon 5D Mark III w. 500/4L IS and 1.4x; 1/320s at F5.6 and ISO800; beanbag and camonetting from vehicle