Day 2 of 6, my primary target for the 2nd day was the Pied Kingfisher at Ayuthaya. Ayuthaya was the old capital for the Kingdom of Thailand. It is about 1 1/2 hour to the north of Bangkok. However before we headed to Ayuthaya, we had to visit the airport again to pick up my traveling partner, Markus, who arrived a day later then me.
We arrived at the destination at about noon. My bird guide Mr Par immediately went to survey the target site. He got information that a pair of Pied Kingfisher was sighted frequently hanging around our target location at the river bank. He wanted to set up some natural perches at the river bank and 2 hides few meter away from the perches for me and Makus to hide and photograph the Pied Kingfisher.
Preparing the hide
After finished setting up the hides, Mr Par told us to break for lunch. Furthermore, he wanted to leave alone the hide for a few hours and let the subjects became familiar with the newly elected hides. Otherwise, the subjects may be too skittish to perch near the hides.
Thai food is really fabulous and delicious.
Here are the famous rice noodles and deep fried mushroom
At about 2 pm, we were back inside the hides. It was a hot and sunny day. I was sweating heavily inside the hide. I kept scanning the perch few meter in front of my hiding location hoping that the Pied Kingfisher perched there. Hmm..... but the target refused to fly near our target location, something not right ! After 1/2 hour of waiting, the Streak Bulbul stopped by the perch.
Another 2 hours gone, we decided to move the hides further up the river bank. We thought that the hides were too obvious and had alerted the Pied Kingfishers. At about 5 pm, we spotted the Pied Kingfisher at the opposite side of the river bank. The subjects were too far away for a good record shot. I decided to wait for another 15 minutes, if the Pied Kingfisher refused to return then I shall move to the paddy field to shoot the Asian Openbill. Another 10 minutes passed, I was about to pack my equipment, suddenly I heard a loud shrill of "chirruk, chirruk, chirruk" sound. Makus alerted me that the Pied Kingfisher is near, I scanned the target location, I saw a pair of Pied Kingfisher perched on a twig. I triggered the shutter of my 1 D mk IV, the camera was shooting at 10 frames per second. After a series of shots, I checked the image at the LCD screen, I realized that the targets were rather small size due to distance away from my hide. Without hesitating, I mounted the EF 800 IS with the 1.4 TC, "he.. he.." luckily I was using the 1 series body, I can reach further with the TC and also maintaining the center point autofocus. The following are the series of photos captured:
The first sighting of Pied Kingfisher
After finishing with the lifer shots of the Pied Kingfisher, we felt we have gotten the target that we were here for, we moved to the paddy field to photography the Asian Openbill.
Contrasting to the Pied Kingfisher, there were abundant of Asian Openbill at the target location. The sun was about to set at the horizon. It created a orange color "last light".
An Asian Openbill hovering above the nest
Some flight shots of the Asian Openbill
Photo-taking the Asian Openbill. There were many perching at the tree.
During the shooting of Asian Openbill, my bird guide met a local villager who gave some valuable information that he always see a group of Pied Kingfisher hanging around at the another end of the paddy field. The villager was so kind to give us the direction. We decided to head for the direction to search for the target before the sky turned dark.
As we were approaching the paddy field, we spotted a few Pied Kingfisher hovering above a river. We were quite excited that we had found a new habitat of the Pied Kingfisher.
A Pied Kingfisher successfully caught a fish from the river
Unfortunately, the sun has set at the far side of the horizon. The light source was not in the perfect condition for further shooting. We decided to come here first thing in the morning.