2017-03-12: Kingfishers

Again this week I am replacing my “What I’ve seen this week” post with some photos from my time in Uganda.  Basically, because all I have seen recently is snow… and not the nice to photograph, snow glistening from sunlit trees… the regular, driveway and road clogging, get out the snow blower and get on with the day kind of snow.  Perhaps my desire for winter to end is a bit apparent!!! But anyways, on with today’s post.

During my time in Uganda, I took an afternoon boat trip along the Kazinga channel, where I saw more kingfishers in under 3 hours than I had seen in all my life before, combined.  I’m not exaggerating to say there were hundreds of individuals there.  There are nesting colonies along the river banks with dozens of birds at each site, and it just kept going and going.

Note, I meant to post this much earlier in the day, but I have been having nothing but issues with the WordPress “http error” when trying to upload images.  My workaround was loading them to Google Drive, downloading to my mobile phone and uploading to media that way, but it certainly isn’t an efficient work around.  Hopefully the “Happiness Engineers” will have some info as to how to resolve this issue.

Now, onto the pictures.


It was easy enough to get a photo of a pair of kingfishers as we cruised along, but the tree had probably 20+ birds in it.


Get off my branch!
A malachite kingfisher spotted in the reed beds.
A happy couple perched on an acacia tree.
My first sighting of a woodland kingfisher – what a beauty!
Another view of the malachite in the reeds. I spotted two of these while on the cruise, but only managed decent-ish photos of one.
It was very loud from all the calling and chattering by the pied kingfishers.
The pied kingfishers nest in the steep banks of the channel.
Soaked after a dip.
On the lookout.

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Malachite Kingfisher

I’ll get this out of the way, right away. The following are no where near the best photographs I captured of kingfishers on my recent trip to South Africa. But, as anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time knows, I am always happy to share what I found to be an interesting capture, regardless of whether the photos end up great or not. It’s about the experience.

While at Zimanga Private Game Reserve, I had the opportunity to photograph the Pied, Giant, Pygmy and Brown Headed kingfishers. Some I even captured from the comfort of a hide, resulting in some fantastic images which I look forward to going through and sharing. The one I only saw in glimpses, and never managed to photograph, was the Malachite kingfisher.

After Zimanga, I spent two fabulous days at Thonga Beach Lodge (which I can honestly say I wish had been two weeks). I went on a sundowner drive along Lake Sibaya, and while most of the guests were hoping to see hippos and crocs, I looked forward to what shore birds I might see. On my last night, I was having a glass of wine along the shore enjoying the herons, egrets and a pied kingfisher hovering above the water. The skies were dull and grey, night was fast approaching, and it was raining. Another guest asked if the kingfisher I was watching had landed in the reeds next to the lake, which I replied no as I was still watching the pied kingfisher hovering. Our guide Thulani then answered that yes indeed that was a kingfisher, the Malachite. Once they directed me to its location, I captured the best photos I was able given the quality of light and my distance away from the bird (I didn’t want to go too close to the edge of the water, given the possibility of crocs and the fact I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking as much as what I was shooting).

I watched as the kingfisher went on several fishing expeditions, and managed to capture her success, with what appears to be a tadpole in her mouth. I gave in to the growing dark after that and watched until she took off further down the lake.  It was great to watch, but of course I do hope the next time I see one, the sun will be out to really show off the beauty of the feathers.

Malchite Kingfisher-3 Malchite Kingfisher-2

1/125 sec, f5.6, ISO1600
1/125 sec, f5.6, ISO1600

Malchite Kingfisher-4

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