Belted Kingfisher Shows Up!

Over the past month, I have been patiently waiting for the Belted Kingfishers (Ceryle alcyon) to show up to fish. Finally, a female has started showing up! In fact, she has been there the past 2 days. So far, I haven’t seen her catching any fish, but at least they are returning to the area where I kayak.

The Belted Kingfisher is very different from most birds; the females are more brightly colored than the males, very atypical in the world of nature! The males have a white belly with a single blue-gray band at the chest/neck area, while the females, who also have this single blue-gray chest/neck band, also have a reddish-brown belly band. Here are a couple of images I managed to make of her:

Belted Kingfisher (female) watches for fish

Belted Kingfisher, female

I really enjoy watching/photographing the kingfishers fishing. They either hover above the water, diving head-first into the water after a fish, or dive from a perch (usually a limb hanging over the water) into the water. After catching a fish and returning to a perch, they will then often repeatedly strike the fish against the limb before consuming it, as I described and illustrated by photos taken from last year (“Fingers Crossed”, in case you missed that post). The kingfishers are pretty skittish, so getting close to them can be difficult. However, that is where the kayak shines … sitting low in the water, it is not uncommon to have a kingfisher fly in to where I am already sitting (as in the case with the above photos). Then, by making very slow and deliberate movements, I can usually grab a few images without frightening them. Right now, I’m anxious to try out a new, portable photo blind I constructed over the winter. The blind breaks down into a compact, lightweight frame with camo material; when I get to my shooting location, it quickly sets up and mounts into a mounting frame I built/attached to the kayak. I’m hoping that using this blind will help to further minimize any fears that the kingfishers may have of me. 

Yesterday, I snapped a photo of the catfish fry in this pond area, the main food source of the kingfishers. The catfish fry have really grown, now measuring 3-4 inches in length:

Catfish fry

So, although no fishing images yet this year, I will be working on getting some during my upcoming kayak outings!

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