Tag Archives: 川蝉

Kingfisher (川蝉)

On March 16, 2017, a female common kingfisher (川蝉) took more than a minute to swallow a fish at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園).

When I saw her, the fish was head-first in her beak.

Common kingfisher female (カワセミ, 川蝉) with a fish at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

She repeatedly gripped the fish at different places along its body. Perhaps she was crushing it to make it easier to swallow.

Common kingfisher female (カワセミ, 川蝉) with a fish at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

After swallowing the fish she remained on the same branch for several minutes. She was in the same position when I left.

Common kingfisher female (カワセミ, 川蝉) at Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

Hatonomori Park

Previous posts about Hatonomori Park in Moriyama City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan (滋賀県 守山市 鳩の森公園)

Technical notes

I shot the video clips and still photos with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera and a Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar f4.0-6.3 / 100-400mm zoom lens at 400mm with lens stabilization (O.I.S.) on. I did not use any special movie mode settings. After a few still photos, I simply pressed the video record button. After the bird flew to another branch, I held the lens on a fence post to reduce camera shake. Fortunately, she remained visible and in focus.

For post-processing I used the free version of DaVinci Resolve 12.5 on a Fedora Linux workstation. Recently I had upgraded my video card to an nVidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6GB), so the software ran smoothly. This professional editing and color grading software works very well, but it has three limitations. First, I could not directly import the video file from my camera. I had to convert the video codec to ProRes, which created huge files (ffmpeg -i kf-1.mov -vcodec prores kf-1-prores.mov). Second, audio does not play without a Blackmagic DecLink card. Audio editing is possible, though, so I edited by sight and listened to the exported video file. Third, export formats are limited to a few formats. For convenience I prefer other editors, but Resolve is great for professional video editing and color grading work on Linux computers.

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 (https://twitter.com/glpjp/), 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 (http://soundcloud.com/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.