Kingfisher Movie

This movie includes video clips and still photographs of a kingfisher at Yasugawa in Shiga Prefecture, Japan. All scenes show the same bird photographed in Deba, Ritto City, December 21-30, 2014. (Actually, the bird may be hunting in Yasu City since it’s on the north bank of the river.) Nearly every day I walked to the river and spent at least two hours waiting for the kingfisher to appear. Now and then I searched for the bird along my side of river, but most of the time I sat quietly.

Until this month I could not have imagined spending several hours a day trying to photograph one little bird, mostly sitting quietly and waiting. As you know if you follow me on Twitter (, I experienced much more than I had anticipated, including hours of watching wagtails, Eurasian wigeons, and black kites, and even an encounter with a nutria.

I grew up on an apple orchard along the Okanogan River in North Central Washington State (USA). For half a century I’ve known that sitting quietly and vigilantly near a river can bring great rewards, but it’s easy to forget such childhood lessons as concerns of the human world desensitize us to our natural environment. I can see that clearly among the people who walk along the riverbank. Every day at least a dozen people take walks there every afternoon, some with dogs and some for their health. Nearly all of those without dogs appear to look straight ahead as they walk.

As I was leaving the riverbank on December 29th, a neighbor lady asked as she approached, “Did you catch any fish?” I said, “No, I’ve been watching a kingfisher.” She’d thought I was fishing because I’d been sitting quietly next to the river, and she was surprised to hear that a kingfisher lived nearby. I tried to show her the bird, which was then a little orange spot on the other side the river. She said, “Oh, sorry, I don’t have my glasses,” as she hurried away.

The beautiful music soundtrack, “Romantic Music – A Magic Morning” was composed and performed by Lionel Schmitt ( The music seemed to be such a perfect match that I adjusted the video track to match the duration of the piece (2:08). Thank you, Lionel, for sharing your creative work! Lionel Schmitt’s music and the movie are both released under Creative Commons Attribution (CC-By) licenses.