Filming kingfishers – autumn is here

Filming kingfishers – autumn is here

Filming kingfishers now that autumn is here turned out to be a very enjoyable filming session. For more information about kingfishers have a look at the kingfisher link.

Kingfisher beating up a stickleback

As a wildlife cameraman I have filmed kingfishers many times.  Last week I was filming them for a BBC Wales programme. Over the last couple of weeks I have been seeing kingfishers regularly at a local nature reserve. On most occasions they have just been out of sight.  So I set off a couple of days ago with the goal of filming them.  I wasn’t concerned about the content of the shots, any shots would do.

People can disturb kingfishers quite easily. Filming kingfishers now that autumn is here is ‘nicer’ in many ways. Too many people approach kingfisher nests for pictures these days.  You’re supposed to have a licence and I’m sure that many do not.  That said, even outside of the breeding season I prefer not to disturb them at all. Natural cover can be an effective way of concealing yourself from wildlife. Reeds and other vegetation are abundant near the filming spot I had chosen, so I covered myself in the stuff. I also positioned myself well back from a known perch, looking through reeds and branches. Individual birds all behave with different degrees of tolerance so I was playing it safe.

[vimeo h=360&w=640]

Clip above, just a short example of footage from the filming session.

Funny thing was, I’d only been there a few minutes. I’d lined up the camera on a branch and was fiddling with the LCD display on the side of the camera.  Suddenly there was a female kingfisher on the LCD screen. Moments like that cause your heart to flip. A typical wildlife cameraman moment. I hit the record button, and as the camera has a few seconds prerecord captured the bird landing. She didn’t hang around for long, and flew off. However, that wasn’t the end of it.  Both male and female birds came back and forth over a couple of hours. My limited viewpoint only allowed shots of the birds perched, but the experience gave valuable information for my next session down there. So far I have the male beating the crap out of a couple of sticklebacks. Fishing next, though I don’t have great slow motion.  We’ll see.