Encounters with a kingfisher

Caramor - sailing around the world
Franco Ferrero / Kath Mcnulty
Tue 23 Aug 2016 01:35
The trials and tribulations of a budding wildlife photographer

As I stumbled around on the shingle beach looking for my land legs, I disturbed a kingfisher. It flew around in a vertical loop, hovered over my head with a “oh my, what has the tide brought in this time?” look on its face and disappeared to another part of the bay. Too late to get the camera out so I carried on with filling our cans at the stream.

Half way back to Caramor, the kingfisher returned. Maybe I could get a half decent photo with the big camera. I dropped off the water, collected the camera and rowed back to the beach. A flash of red and a splash just in front of the dinghy as the bird dived for its prey and swiftly vanished once again. 

“I can be patient” thought I, and sat on a rock until my feet were cold and my buttocks went numb. Luckily I had company to keep my mind off the discomfort. 

Common striped mussel eater (my name)

In practically every anchorage, one of these birds has followed me around as I put the shorelines out. It hopped around the beach, pecking at mussels and I understood that the attraction was not my witty conversation but more to do with inadvertently squashing mussels as I land, providing a fast food treat.

The light was fading and I was about to get back into the dinghy when the kingfisher returned. I got one shot before it dived and then perched on a dead tree some distance away. 

The camera lens looked dirty, the fisher wasn’t going anywhere, I thought I had time to clean it. I blew on the zoom and it misted up but in the cold wouldn’t demist, I fumbled for a cloth. At that precise instant, the cursed budgie landed on a branch just a few metres away! It’s a hard life being a wildlife photographer.

Martín pescador grande - ringed kingfisher (Cerule torquata)

Caramor is Lobito Anchorage, Caleta Villarrica