Local Kingfishers

For the last month, I have started to work on my own local patch of middle Oxfordshire.  I am attempting to photograph the fast and elusive Kingfishers in their natural habitat.  They are one of my favourite birds, as I find them fascinating to study and a challenge to photograph.
It is early days, but so far so good, with a few sightings and some early images taken (albeit with poor backgrounds and far from ideal lighting).

Kingfisher with a fish
Kingfisher with a fish

The small river I am focussing on is well away from any human activity, so these amazing creatures are very nervous.  I will have to be very quiet and stay well hidden to be successful. Although the beginning of Autumn is usually a slow time for Kingfishers, the birds I have been watching are very busy and I estimate each bird is taking at least 10-15 fish a day.  First activity starts before sunrise, which doesn't seem right for a bird that needs to clearly see it's breakfast before it can dive ! 

Kingfisher Portrait

I will no doubt update the local Kingfisher endeavour over the coming weeks, as I plan to focus all of my attention here for a while...

Kingfisher Portrait

This image above is one of my local male Kingfishers, in a typical pose, forcing me to shoot into the sun light, causing the very dark background. The small white tip on the end of the bill indicates that this is a juvenile bird, maybe 14-18 months old, but not fully mature yet. Its plumage is in very good condition [feather perfect], so I am pleased it seems to be in good health.   This image was captured at at 500mm, f4, iso1600 and a shutter speed of 1/800sec.  My Canon 1D-X and Canon EF-500 telephoto lens were sat upon a large bean bag for stability.  Time stamp was 10:07am.