【Series】 Spirits of the Kamuy landscape
In this series, the transformation of four seasons will be introduced through articles on wild animals that are active in the deep forests, marshes, and ocean as if they were being cradled by “Kamui,” which means deity in the Ainu language. The first installment in the series is the Yezo sika deer of Notsuke Peninsula. (Text and photographs by Tadanobu Shigeru from the Kushiro Branch News Secti
【Series】 Spirits of the Kamuy landscape (49) Crested kingfisher concentrates on diving for fish
The green color of trees reflects on the surface of Lake Kussharo (Teshikaga Town in the Eastern Hokkaido Kushiro region), but the atmosphere of autumn has touched this area as well. At the lakeside, I encountered a crested kingfisher, a bird known for the crested plumage atop its head.
The crested kingfisher is immensely cautious, so getting close to the bird is difficult. They establish territories at mountain streams and lakes and live there, but they rarely ever show themselves. They can be identified by a high-pitched chirping sound generated while flying, which can be heard over long distances. When it found a perching tree for hunting the fish it feeds on, I hid myself in a slightly removed spot so as not to stand out, and waited.
The sight of the crested kingfisher diving for small fish from its bare branch perch is reminiscent of a swimmer on the start line. Streamlining its body with its famous crest momentarily angled down, it aims for minimum possible water resistance as it dives into the water. It displays a focus of concentration in which its eyes never stray from its fish prey.
And because these birds are “mountain stream sprites” who do not let humans approach easily, successfully capturing the shot you wanted yields immense joy.
(Words and photo: Shigeru Tadanobu)