On Saturday afternoon Stefano and I decided to go over to the Parco della Piana, where we do most of our local bird watching. When we arrived, there wasn’t even a rusty old bicycle in the parking lot. I mean, the place was completely deserted… 

Kingfisher, Parco della Piana, Florence, Italy. Sept 22 2012

We immediately commented: “well, this probably means that the kingfisher has gone somewhere else and there is nothing to see. Bummer.”

But the idea of having the whole place to ourselves was too appealing. So we parked, grabbed our cameras and traipsed over to our favorite hut, where we’d always spotted the elusive kingfisher.

After we’d spent a half hour watching the growing, not-so-little-anymore grebes squeak for food and paddle furiously after their exhausted parents (a very cute sight…but one we’ve seen and photographed many times…), Stefano decided to go to one of the other huts. I stayed behind…ever hopeful of catching a glimpse of our little blue friend…

About 15 minutes later, an out-of-breath Stefano rushed into the hut, exclaiming: “Margaret, run! He’s over at the other hut!”

We ran. 

And there he was.

Perched conveniently on a branch right in front of us…just a few meters away. An unbelieeeeeevable stroke of luck. Of the one hundred thousand million photos I took, this is perhaps my favorite, even though you can’t see the very end of the kingfisher’s tail, hidden under the branch. The little guy had just swallowed a shrimp, which explains why his beak is slightly ajar…(Silly me, I could have shot some video, too, duuuuh…oh well, next time!)

Anyway, these are definitely the benefits of being ALONE in a bird reserve…rather than surrounded by a bunch of guys (yeah, why am I usually the only woman there? Puzzling!) boasting LOUDLY about their big expensive camera lenses (= drives me crazy)… 😉

P.S. For obvious reasons, I wasn’t going to mention which type of camera I use, but more than a few people have been asking about it, so…well…why not? It’s a Canon Powershot SX30IS. 

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