15/5-2015 Kingfisher!

The couple - Horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus).

The couple – Horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus).

Green velvet - Horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus).

Green velvet – Horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus).

Every year it is the same – or is it? I find spring the most fantastic and rewarding of all seasons. It is pure optimism and all systems are on Go! This weekend I spent on Öland and the weather was great and I got the opportunity to get some good chances to great shots. The ground on Alvaret was in several places covered with orchids – this year it felt more than ever. It is fascinating with the colorful but fragile flowers on the harsh ground with only a few centimeters layer of soil on the lime rock. Like a blooming desert!

This trip I focused on getting pictures of horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus), which is a bird that has decreased a lot over the years. It has to a large extent been replaced by the red-necked grebe (gråhakedopping, Podiceps grisegena) in many of the places where I used to see it 20 years ago. Through good friends I got a tip on a small and hidden pool were they had seen horned grebe last year. I went there and a couple was in the pond this year as well – Luck! And as no surprise a family of the Eurasian coot (sothöna, Fulica atra) was also in the water. Flat on my stomach in the mud on the shore I got some shots on a close distance.

At close range - Horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus).

At close range – Horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus).

Jogging on water - Eurasian coot (sothöna, Fulica atra).

Jogging on water – Eurasian coot (sothöna, Fulica atra).

Floating quietly - Panorama - Horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus).

Floating quietly – Panorama – Horned grebe (Svarthakedopping, Podiceps auritus).

However, sometimes when intuition is combined with luck great things can happen. I was out walking the dog along my childhood’s old A – Ljungbyån. Without really thinking about where I went I walked and suddenly heard a bird sound I had not heard in many years in these parts. Kingfisher! – Common kingfisher (kungsfiskare, Alcedo atthis).

My dog looked surprised approvingly at me when we started to force large shrubs to get down to the banks of the river. Oh YES – a kingfisher flew past in the sunset! No camera! I lifted up my now very surprised dog and began to run back home to fetch my camera. The 500/4 with the 1.7x converter on my Nikon D4s and off I went on my mother’s old bike. The question that was burning in my head was of course if the bird still would be there when I arrived. I hurried and people strolling in the neighborhood looked as if I was from another planet on my mother’s bike with a long lens on my shoulder going as fast as I dared – straight out in the woods. I parked the bike 50 meters away from where I saw the bird and then approached quiet with my heartbeat pounding in my ears from the excitement combined with the fast bike ride. I got in a good position with decent light and started to watch for the bird. Nothing happened and it got darker- still OK light but soon it would be too dark. I was almost giving up when suddenly the Kingfisher landed in a dead tree across the river and sat and watched me for maybe 10 seconds. I got some shots and was all excited. I changed my position a few meters to get a better angle of view. The bird came by one more time and I got my shoot! It soon got dark and I did not see or hear the bird after this. Nature photography is an activity with the presence duty – except for this magical evening no one have seen the kingfisher by the river.

The King in solitude - Common kingfisher (kungsfiskare, Alcedo atthis).

The King in solitude – Common kingfisher (kungsfiskare, Alcedo atthis).

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