Mill Creek is home to at least one pair of Kingfishers. The tidal stream flats being an ideal hunting zone.
The nest banks are quite close, and the trees and powerlines make idealsurveillanceperches.
Kingfishers are not particularly numerous around Stewart Island, but most tidal inlets and streams seem to have a resident pair. For me they are quite hard to photograph, as they are quite shy. A trait they share with many of our species who frequent open spaces. A reflection I suppose of their vulnerability to our avian predators, none of whom … apart from the two owls … tend to hunt within the heavy forest. And in direct contrast to our forest birds who are quite relaxed around people.
I remember spending a beautiful afternoon driftingdown the Heron Riverin a dinghyin a fruitless attempt to get close enough for my 300mm lens.
The bright flash of colour as they dart away are often all that registers.However the Mill Creek birds have become somewhat desensitised to movement, living and hunting as they do along side a road an busy walking route.
Their bright colouration makes them quite distinctive in a country where bird plumage tends towards more muted schemes.
The following sequence is of a bird fishing. From perch to perch tookapproximately12 seconds.
Until I caught this bird I was unaware they actually dived below the surface, as each previous feeding sequence I had seen involved surface or very close to surface food.