First stop for the afternoon was going to be some Kingfishers. We had tried this spot the previous year with no sign of the birds but I think we had missed them due to our later trip. The strong current pushing down this channel made positioning the boat upstream and into the margin difficult. This was especially the case as the boat need to be perpendicular to the flow. After about 15 minutes the boat was in position and this was the scene before us.
On the left side of the image you can just see the vertical clay bank where the Kingfishers were nesting. After about 20 minutes the male appear with a fish and landed on the perch. With nice even light from some thin cloud overhead, and the dark green swirling waters providing a back drop, the colours of these birds appeared incredibly vivid. A flash of brilliance in this watery landscape. The bird flew into the nest before re-emerging a short while later and disappearing downstream in a flash of electric blue accompanied by the characteristic high pitched penetrating call. Apologies for the background on these photos which have suffered greatly at the hands of jpeg compression but do look great on the originals.
I thought for this part I would post the images by species rather than in any chronological order as to be honest the whole session is a bit of a blur of birds and the sound of whirring camera shutters. At one point we had a Glossy Ibis, Night Heron, and Squacco Heron in a line in front of us and I was sequential going down the line up taking images. An amazing experience to have these photogenic species in front of you with the light improving with each passing moment. Of course the whole process was accompanied by the constant background chorus of frogs just to add the vibrant atmosphere.
I will start with the Glossy Ibis. We managed to photograph this bird the previous year in some fairly poor light. To really appreciate the beautiful colours of these birds they need some sun on them and this particular bird was in superb plumage. A wonderful combination of deep rusty red with a green and bronze metallic sheen across the wings that changed hue with the direction of light. The further the sun fell the more the colours sang out. The bird was striding across the vegetation which it was constantly probing with its curved beak and occasionally pausing to snap up an aquatic morsel. A small selection of photographs are below.
Evening on the Delta from Richard Steel on Vimeo.
This had probably been my favourite session on the Danube Delta to date and one that will remaining in the memory, albeit slightly blurry by it intensity, for a very long time to come. I was already looking forward and wondering what the next day might bring.