Belted Kingfisher

Over the years there are a few different animals that have been on my list to photograph. High on the list is small, energetic bird with sound that once you hear it, you'll never forget it. While out photographing I always see them, they also see me and typically don't hang around. The Belted Kingfisher is small bird that lives near lakes, streams and rivers. Mostly feeding on small fish and crustaceans. They create their nest in burrows that they build themselves on creek & river banks. They will sit on a branch, even power lines, and watch directly below them for an unsuspecting fish to swim by. After locating their prey, they take an aerial assault and dive beak first into the water to catch it. They are quiet beautiful birds with the females having more colors than the males. Females will have a rusty colored ban across the breast and down their sides, while the males typically have just a blue band.

The image below was created last October on the Pocosin Lakes NWR, this particular bird allowed me to photograph her from my truck. Not letting me get too close of course. After a few moments it flew to a different area.

While I was set up, photographing an osprey nest a couple of years ago, a female kingfisher landed on the bottom edge of the nest. To my surprise she was carrying a small crayfish, she landed just long enough for me to get a couple frames before continuing on.

A couple of weeks ago while searching the Pocosin Lakes NWR, I again came across a kingfisher. This one was not your normal situation where I'm lucky to get two images before it flew off. This particular bird allowed me to photograph her for 15 minutes or so. I believe she was fairly young and hadn't really developed her skittishness of humans yet. I slowly walked up to the edge of the canal where she was perched and created a LOT of photographs. I would create a few photographs, take a few steps closer, take a few more photos and then a couple more steps. This happened, again for 15 minutes or so, before it started to rain & I decided to leaver her be. It's always nice when you can go out, photograph an animal, and leave it exactly where you found, undisturbed & stress free.

So when your out and about, look carefully around canals, ditches, creeks and streams. Most of the time, they will sit very still and let you pass without ever knowing they were there. They are great hunters, aerial acrobats and just an all around beautiful bird. I hope you are as lucky as I was on this day.

Cheers, -Neil