Saturday, April 19, 2008

Female Belted Kingfisher

One of the treats from last Sunday were the belted kingfishers. I found what I believe is two different females around Black Dog Lake.

The first one I found was down at the west channel to the river. I believe that this is the same one that John Mikes, over at Weekend Shooter, photographed a few times in that location this winter.
She perched in several different locations around the west channel, often taking off just as I got the lens on her. After following her around the channel a bit I got a couple of shots and then drove back down Black Dog Road towards the east.
When I went around the east side of the lake I spotted another female belted kingfisher in the marshy area that is part of Fort Snelling State park.
This is the same location that I photographed a pair of kingfishers a couple of weeks ago.
It is possible that this could be the same bird that I spotted at the west channel, I did stop for a few minutes on my way down Black Dog Road to check out some other birds. So there was time enough for the bird to fly down to the opposite side of the lake but I believe that it is actually another bird who has a territory in the marsh.
While I was watching her an older couple who were new to birding stopped to see what I was looking at and so I pointed her out. We watched as she shifted between a couple of different perches and I talked to them about the different birds that were in the marsh.
I continued to watch and photograph her even after the couple left. Just as I was about to pack up she flew down into the marsh and pulled up a fish.
She moved too quickly for me to get the shot of her diving into the water but i was able to click of a few of her enjoying her prize.
You can see that when she catches the fish it is at a 90 degree angle to her beak. It would be very hard for her to swallow it that way, remember birds do not have teeth so they usually have to swallow there prey.
So she would toss the fish in the air and try and catch it in her beak so that the fish was perpendicular and she would be able to swallow it. Sometimes she would have to through it up more then one because she did not catch it properly the first time.
She caught 3 fish while I watched that afternoon. I ended up spending over an hour there and shooting out most of the rest of my 8gb memory card.
When I left she was still perched in what looked to be her favorite snag. There was no sign of the male that I had seen with her the last time that I photographed them. Since this is one of the better birding sights that is close to my house I will undoubtedly return and helpfully get more great kingfisher pics.


Unknown said...

Hi Ecobirder,
I have been lurking for awhile now. Love the kingfisher pics! They are a hard species to get close enough for decent pics.

Ecobirder said...

Hey DJB thanks for visiting. I agree kingfishers are cagey and usually tough to photograph but I got lucky with the one fishing who does not seem to mind posing for me. I took a look at your blog and you have some nice pics, I especially like the owls. I added a link to your site to the blog.

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