Copyright © 2017 by Ali Bernie Buga-ay, all rights reserved. Pied Kingfisher: this photograph may not be used without permission.

Our dear friend Prin Pattawaro told us a month ago that there are Pied Kingfisher in Ayutthaya along the banks of a tributary river to Chaopraya River, it is actually kind of a huge flood overflow calanal that is so huge it looked like a river. he said that the birds are just right behind a restaurant called Krua Manaw, a local restaurant that provides great river fish and prawns delicacies; of course they have more on their menu, but these are their specialties.


We were thinking that there is a pond at the back of the restaurant and then they have a hide in which to watch the Pied Kingfishers; but they even have better. The river tributary to Chaopraya River has become a haven to this Kingfisher. They like it there because of the high river banks in which on the walls, they can build their nest, so they just simply fly out for food and take the food to the birding waiting in the mud nests they fancied using their long, broad, and strong bills. We arrived at 9:30 a.m. an we thought it was already late, went in the hides and waited, the Pied Kingfishers were just there flying around and we kept waiting for them to perch on the bare branches set-up by birders who came before, they never perched on them. I was getting impatient, we see them hover, passing us, and making the Kingfisher sounds as they flyby. Briefy, one of them perched on the branch where my lens was focused and after five seconds it flew, and that was it. Our mother who was with us was in another hide in which she watched the Pied Kingfisher coming in and out the mud nest and she was excited about it. Later, Arpha joined her and she took photographs. I decided to find them somewhere near and I crawled on bank and found them. The photographs were pathetic and coming back was an option that we waited for a long time.


We decided to go back in Ayutthaya last February 3, 2017 and our first attempt was December of 2016, that’s like three months of work and patience. This time we arrived at 10:00 o’ clock in the morning, we went to hides and to our surprise the trees that were covering are gone. They have been cut and clean except for some trees standing on the edge. We decided to set our own hide and waited. We took photographs until noon time then we relocated. At the new location, our line of shooting was straight to the perch or to the birds and we were just few feet away. The waiting was intense since it was hot and getting hotter, we were complimented by some cool wind blowing on the river. The kingfishers chose the rear perch and we just waited and waited for them to come closer. We moved back to the last location and and we were blessed of some Kingfishers coming back for their young every few minutes. Our long wait is over and we got the right photographs; but we never get satisfied, I know, we shall find more chances to get greater photographs in the future.

Kraw Manaw, Ayutthaya, Thailand
Nikon D500 + Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

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