Double whammy: Karl and Aline, shooting at the Grey Wagtail at Kaeng Krachan National Park, we stopped by the road and this funny tail wagging bird appeared.

I have known Karlo Diel for a long time; in fact, we studied at the same college, the same degree, but he was way a lot younger than I am because that was my second degree when we were enrolled in that college. His wife Ayen, I have known her also for a couple of years now and we have become great friends together with my wife, Arpja. They love adventure just like us, they look for it and they want more. I taught them how to shoot arrows in archery, fishing, encourage them with other sports to enjoy, and finally camping and just hiking and hiking. They know about photography but they never thought on how much it is very important as an outdoor’s man.

They always love to tag along with us in camping and fishing, and we have taken them to some of our birding sorties and yet they never understood what wildlife was. I have also made both of them join my photography club in Bangkok and we have had fantastic exhibitions on streets, macros, landscapes, wildlife and all; never they have learned to love the wildlife as much as this.

We told them that we were going to Chiang Mai, north of Thailand for a birding expedition last April of 2017 and they said they would love to come. We told them that they might get extremely bored waiting for us. They never had any birding equipment in photography and whatever’s needed. So they tagged along and they were taken by surprise.

We drove from Saraburi to Chiang Ra for twelve hours to find the Firethroat, a migratory bird wintering in Thailand and it takes off back to Sichuan, China, when it is time to breed. Both of them saw this lovely bird and how it behaved in the wild. We also went to Doi lang, Doi Angkang, and Doi San Ju; the experience was incredible and they were too quick to learn that the lenses that they have had were not good enough, then they needed  to buy a new camera. They did, and they have been birding faithfully, spending their time in the wild now with more serious purpose. Not just sleeping under the stars and walking in the forest, feeling euphoric; now, searching for wildlife as created by a Creator.

Karl and Aline: crossing a soon to overflow stream at Kaeng Krachan National Park

They really wanted to get a score for a serious Kingfishers so I tried to find the Black-backed Kingfisher for them at a stream. When I heard it and confirmed that it was really there by looking into my binoculars, I told them to go and take a photograph. they both scrambled leaving some of their gear behind and they braved the heavy pouring rain.

Stalking the Black-backed Kingfisher: They crossed the almost knee deep stream and it was also getting swollen as the monsoon rain continued to pour.

I told Arpha to follow them as they crossed the stream so that they could be coached on what to do. They were so excited to find that lovely Black-backed Kingfisher. it is really an exotic bird and a must have when it is in season.

The excitement escalated when Karlo found the Black-backed Kingfisher, he stood up and shouted back, “it is here it is here,” I showed him the sign to keep it down.

As they found the bird, I shouted at Karlo to come back, he was frustrated and I can see the look on his face saying, why? I said just come and hurry. As he came, I told him to get his portable chairs, take my blind, and some camera essentials, and then his face lit up again. I told Arpha to go with them and help them set up.

Arpha was behind them coaching on what to do so they could get the right shots.

As they had the blind set up, they both sat inside. Under the pouring rain, the Black-backed Kingfisher made a show. It flew around them, perching on a branch behind them; also, it went to perch for a long time on a branch in front of them and surely they worked hard to get the best shots they could have managed.

This is the Black-back Kingfisher or Asian Dwarf Kingfisher as it was formerly called. The Prize!

Today, Karl and Aline are serious wildlife photographers and they take pride now of what animals they could find in the wild. There is so much to discover and yet we as human beings, discover the world through modern medias that can on make us stay and sit at home. Going to the wild is a rewarding experience in which it also heals the soul and see the wonders of the Creator.

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