When I walk to Yasugawa, a 15-minute stroll from my house, I often carry an old telephoto lens with my camera, hoping to photograph birds or small animals. Sometimes I get a few nice shots, but often I see creatures only briefly, without time to raise my camera, let alone focus the long lens. Often pheasants fly out right at my feet, cross the river, and disappear into the bushes on the other side. Sometimes I see birds that I don’t recognize, and once a small weasel emerged from bushes along the river, saw me, and quickly vanished.

Several times I’ve seen a kingfisher near the ground golf and putting courses at the upstream end of the riverside path that runs down into Moriyama. Usually the bird is far away or flying over the middle of the river, but a couple of weeks ago I saw it perched nearby. I managed to get one photo before it flew across the river.

A few days later I saw the kingfisher on the other side again, very close to where it had flown before.

I could see that it was hunting and catching fish, so I decided to try to get more photos by waiting nearby. I set up my tripod under a tree, attached a long lens to my camera, and waited.

I was rewarded a couple of times as the kingfisher perched nearby.

The bird seemed to be hunting downstream from my location, so the next day I changed my position, this time standing out in the open.

Good fortune! The kingfisher came over to my side of the river.

I waanted to catch the bird fishing, hopefully with a photo of it emerging from the water holding a fish. I had set up my tripod with a fluid (movie) head and even practiced panning to where I assumed the bird would hover and then dive. But no joy that day. The bird just sat around, scanned the sky, and finally flew away.

So far the kingfisher has not cooperated. I haven’t seen it since December 8th, but probably I’ll set up the tripod and wait again the next time I go to the river.

Published by Greg Peterson

Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Notre Dame University (1977-2020). Since 1980 I have lived in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, where I enjoy outdoor activities, especially photography, hiking, and cycling.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: