Finally we came to a halt and then we walked into the forest to a specific spot where we stood quietly and waited. After a few minutes it was there, almost like an apparition it just appeared on a branch a few meters away, holding a large cicada. A Red Bearded Bee-eater. I think this is the most stunning bird I have ever seen. The colours here do not do it justice, it was very dark in dense forest so I had the ISO set at 3200, aperture open wide on f5.6 so the photos are not of pristine quality, but the bird itself was just amazing.
Moments later a female appeared and we were treated to the spectacle of the two birds coming and going between their nest hole in a sandy bank and the nearby branches, all just a few meters from where we stood. They seemed quite unperturbed by our presence, even as we aimed our lenses & took photographs without hiding. They obviously sensed no danger.
Once again very poor light conditions prevented me from getting sharp images, but I was happy to get any record at all of such a special little bird species. Not many people will see this kingfisher in their lifetime. We were privileged to watch them bringing food for their young for some time.
I am not sure how that bill shape is adapted to their food gathering? Insectivores would normally have sharp, often quite long beaks and I believe broadbills take mainly grubs & larvae, so one would expect the need for a more probing tool. I will look into their feeding habits because such a broad bill seems quite unsuitable in this habitat.
It was a similar story with a lot of potentially stunning birds, getting closer and having better light would be great, but so often I had to make do with record shots such as those below of an Orange Bellied Leafbird, which is a stunner & these photos do not do it justice at all.
I was lucky enough to catch another shot of a very special small bird up in the trees though, one we had met before, the Banded Kingfisher. Just one shot on this occasion but given the scarcity and difficulty of finding and photographing this forest species I will post it here.