Indigo Banded Kingfisher Phillippines
It was 1 of my dreams to actually see the beautiful endemic Kingfisher of the Philippines, not to mention being able to photograph it. Being able to see the Male and Female on the same day itself was a big bonus. The pair of kingfishers seems to be pretty skittish at the location I went to. A hide would be a definite must if I will to come back here to target for a larger subject isolation in my photographs.
I had a total of only 12hours 20minutes to photograph the Kingfisher as hard as I could manage in a span of 2 days.
The first day upon reaching near location in the Mid afternoon, I set down my luggage and wanted to go for the Kingfisher immediately. My friendly local guide Ronald and the other locals told me that the Kingfisher only comes out in the morrning. Forget about it and wait for the next day, they told me. As much as I had been photographing wild animals/wild birds for 8 years on and off, I learnt that animals need to feed upon first light and last light. Sometimes witnessing them hunting till after last light as they are unable to get their prey(be it unable to find, or missing their prey continuously). I told my friendly guide Ronald, ‘let’s give it a shot, I have a strong feeling the Kingfisher would be hunting at last light.’ Sure enough we saw the pair of beautiful blue jewels hunting at the rapidly flowing stream. I only had a short 25minutes to photograph them before it was too dark to photograph them anymore.
The next morning, we went back to the same area, reaching there at 0605hours, it was still quite dark and the sun was starting to rise. Boy was I late!
The pair of kingfishers were already hunting at the stream in almost pure darkness! I always admire the wild for this part of their dedication, for I cant wake up early for nuts!
I stayed in the location till 1750hours, where I noticed the nearest possible distance the kingfishers will perch was at least 13-20 meters away from me.
1hour 30mins before last light came, I hid under a table blocked by leaves, pre positioning my lens at a few of the favourite spots the Kingfisher loved to perch when no humans were in vicinity. The best part came, 1 of the Kingfisher perched directly on top of me, on the table I was hiding in. What could I do now, but to listen to it’s cute call in Ultra high Definiition only, while making sure I dont shift my lens so as not to frighten it. What can I say? The camouflage works and I would be coming back to get better photographs of it!
Above: A Female Indigo Banded Kingfisher perches on top of a rock hunting for it’s prey.
These Kingfishers favours rapidly flowing streams to hunt. Approximately 5.5inches in length, slightly smaller than a House Sparrow.
Photographed at ISO 1000, 1/100th, F9, Center Weighted
Below: A closer look at the male Indigo Banded Kingfisher. The male has 2 bands on the chest(As shown), while the female has only 1 band on it’s chest (Disconnected band at the top of chest).
I was only able to get 1 photo of it filling up my camera’s sensor before it flew off to the usual 20-25meters distance, where I was only able to get enviromental photographs of it.
Most of the time its size in my camera sensor is so small that its not even enough for an enviromental shot.
Indigo banded Kingfishers are endemic to the Philippines. They favour rapid flowing streams to hunt for small fishes and crustaceans.
Apologies for the slightly blurred photograph of subject due to my mistake of using wrong technique.
Photographed at ISO 800, 0.6seconds, F7.1, Center Weighted.
Subject Distance: 10meters.
One of the noticed favourable hunting styles of the Indigo Banded Kingfishers, perching atop rocks just inches above a rapid flowing stream. I admire their keen eyesight, reflexes and hunting skills. The best part: They start hunting even before first light penetrated the forest canopies.
Above: This was photographed against the mid afternoon sun. The soft backlit light falling on the waters allowed me to show the beautiful color of the stream.
Photographed at ISO 1000, 1/320th sec , F9, Center Weighted.
Subject Distance: 40 meters.
All photographs above are shot with Nikkor 600mm F/4G ED VR Nano + Nikon D7100 mounted on a Gitzo 1548 Mark II tripod + Wimberley Head Mark II.
The awesome crew at Villa Escudero.
From left to right: Dex Iglesias(Our Philippine friend), myself, our awesome local guide Ronald Artillaga (With the Minox BL 10×52 Waterproof Binoculars around his neck), Li Li (My Sister) and Dominic Wee Jr.
Ronald tried on the Minox BL HD 10 X 52 waterproof binoculars the entire day and he said ‘This is good, This is very bright.