Kingfisher : Tales from the Halcyon River Hardback
The kingfisher is one of the most bewitching of birds - strikingly beautiful in colour, unmistakably elegant in profile, incomparable when plunge-diving for its food.
It is shy, solitary and hard to spot when it perches motionless on a branch above the water, ready to strike the moment of fish appears.
It is also notoriously difficult to photograph, which makes Charlie Hamilton James' achievement in producing "Kingfisher: Tales from the Halcyon River" all the more remarkable.
From a hide attached to his home by a West Country river, and from a number of vantage points along that river, he has watched and photographed kingfishers for literally thousands of hours, starting work before dawn and continuing until there is too little light for him to see.
This dedication has enabled him to build up a unique photographic portfolio, showing behaviours that have not appeared in scientific papers.
We see kingfishers courting and mating, rearing their chicks, hunting and defending a territory.
Charlie's skills as a film-maker are also apparent in his photography - his shots of the kingfishers diving make us believe we are watching them in motion.
The accompanying text is equally exceptional. Written in diary form, it covers the kingfishers' habits season by season and describes them with real intimacy - 'The birds appear together, very excited.
The male lands in the wood pile at the base of the ash tree and the female lands on the perch next to the nest.
They whistle to each other excitedly and the male flutters his wings to a blur'.
It also opens a window on the tribulations of being a wildlife photographer.
The combination is an unparalleled record of the life of this beautiful bird, a towering achievement from a brilliant photographic talent.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 168 pages, 130+ colour illustrations
- Publisher: Evans Mitchell Books
- Publication Date: 07/05/2009
- Category: Photography & photographs
- ISBN: 9781901268386