Walking on Sunshine


It was a once in a lifetime photo that took Blaxland photographer Merryl Watkins by surprise. The moment a Sacred Kingfisher took flight before spreading its wings, frozen in time.

“For a few days we had been hearing the calls of two sacred kingfishers as they were flying around the neighbourhood. For small birds they are quite loud! Whenever I heard them, I’d grab my camera, hoping for a photo” said an amazed Merryl when describing the experience.

“I noticed they were looking at a hollow in a neighbour’s tree so I set my shutter speed to 1/2000 sec (they are very fast) and just watched the branch, hoping one would fly there. Eventually one did and I got a series of shots with it looking at the hollow and then flying away. I certainly didn’t expect to see it ‘levitating’! A split second later its wings were open, so I was very lucky to get this shot” she continued.

Merryl’s favourite camera is a Canon 5D Mk IV with a 100-400mm lens. She also has a Sony RX10 Mk IV which is lightweight and perfect for bushwalking.

She loves photographing all wildlife and has a soft spot for birds, “We are so fortunate to have an amazing variety of native birds in Australia and we have many here in the Lower Blue Mountains and along the Nepean. Their colours and calls are fascinating, and they are also a challenge to photograph!”.

Merryl counts Glenbrook Lagoon and Emu Green as two great places locally to find several species of birds. She also enjoys Megalong Valley, where she and her husband have joined the Blue Mountains Wombat Conservation Group, checking on wombat burrows in the fight against mange.

The talented photographer has just released ‘A Year of Birds 2023 Calendar’. It’s available for $25 through Blaxland Post Office, Mjays Café at Blaxland and in her online store, Photos and Cards by Merryl, at www.madeit.com.au/PhotosAndCardsByMerryl.

“We live in a great part of the world. I’d just like to encourage everyone to take even 5 minutes in a busy day to stop and listen and look around them. It’s amazing what you can see and how much better you can feel” she ended.

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