its a fine image indeed, undoubtably one to be proud of.
however in answer to your question the following was put to me recently in connection with a proposed panel for arps nat hist.
in years gone by and certainly prior to the digital age, shots like this were difficult to achieve. consequently you could build a panel around images of this type. limitations of focal length, image stabilisation, iso, all limited the use and of available aperature / shutter speed combinations.
with high iso, x1.5 focal length on cropped sensor, better optics than ever with VR. high speeds become available. so now we need more activity, pulling out fish or food, in flight, mating, interaction with other birds or surroundings, --in short doing something other than pose.
just check how many kingfisher shots of stunning quality turn up on epz and then compare that to the number in flight or emerging from water, preening, hovering, or in any form of activity that come up.
so it seems international exhibitions and salons now tend to mark down non active shots no matter how splendid they are.
on top of that, consider how they are scored. 3 judges with an option to press a 2,3,4,or 5 buttons with instruction that 5 is only for an insistance that its accepted, 3 if its near but boarderline, and 4 if its a definate acceptance. (not all are exactly like this but you get the drift) then they will compare with similar shots and choose the better one.
given the rps standards im really not surprised at the difference. this in most salons is is 3/4 if you look at it objectively from that point of view so 12/15 would be really good, and acceptance in many salons, higher would be looking at an award or certificate of merit and 9 means all 3 judges thought it boarder-line and no one spoke out for it. happens to me all the time, you can read the scores after a while.
this dosnt mean that there isnt a place for lovely shots like this, id love it in my collection. but maybe its not the stuff of dreams it was 6 years ago. my only niggle is id have liked a little more space in front and water drips off the beak. but then hey, i havnt got one like it on my pf so what can i say.
hope this helps