Female Belted Kingfisher Looking For And Catching Prey

Home/Birds, Belted Kingfishers, Salt Lake County, Utah/Female Belted Kingfisher Looking For And Catching Prey

Female Belted Kingfisher looking for fish in a pondFemale Belted Kingfisher looking for fish in a pond – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 250, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I spent the morning on Antelope Island State Park looking for birds to photograph but my best bird of the day was at a pond close to where I live. I took several hundred images of a female Belted Kingfisher looking for and catching prey while it was bright and sunny yesterday afternoon.

This female kingfisher may be the same kingfisher that I photographed last year at the same pond although the kingfisher from last year had more red in the breast band beneath her white neck which indicates a younger bird and the one I photographed yesterday was in adult plumage.

Female Belted KingfisherFemale Belted Kingfisher 2016 – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I can’t be certain of but the kingfisher I photographed yesterday is most likely the same bird who has matured and acquired her adult plumage and has come back to her known hunting grounds.

Female Belted Kingfisher perched in a treeFemale Belted Kingfisher perched in a tree – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 250, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The female kingfisher made several attempts to catch prey and she missed a few times and after a miss she would fly back into the trees that are on the edge of the pond. A few times she was fairly close.

Belted Kingfisher female rattlingBelted Kingfisher female rattling – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 250, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And at times she was a little further away and more out in the open.

(In the interest of full disclosure I did clone out a tip of an out of focus branch on the left side of this frame that I felt detracted from the overall clean lines of this photo.)

At one point I heard a child on the other side of the pond excitedly yelling to his friends to look at the “woodpecker” and a woman, who may or may not have been his mom, gently corrected him and told them all that the bird was a kingfisher. I hope that boy remembers the kingfisher and that seeing her ignited a curiosity about birds in him and his friends.

Female Belted Kingfisher with preyFemale Belted Kingfisher with prey – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The female Belted Kingfisher did catch a fish while I photographed her and she brought her prey to a branch in the tree to devour it. It sure didn’t take her long to swallow it whole.

Belted Kingfisher female perched over a pondBelted Kingfisher female perched over a pond – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 250, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The kingfisher seems to have a few favorite perches and those appear to be the ones where she can perch high and have an unobstructed view of the pond below. Right after this image was taken the female kingfisher flattened her crest which I have come to know is an indicator that the kingfisher might take flight to dive for prey so I got ready to try and capture the moment of take off.

Female Belted Kingfisher getting ready to lift offFemale Belted Kingfisher getting ready to lift off – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 250, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

This photo shows the flattened crest with the kingfisher squatted a little and leaning forward.

Female Belted Kingfisher at moment of lift offFemale Belted Kingfisher at moment of lift off – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 250, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I was able to photograph the split second where she launched herself from the perch in to flight. Her tiny feet were just millimeters away from the branch she had been perched on. I hope this female kingfisher hangs around for several weeks and allows me to take more images of her.

Life is good.

Mia

Weather forecast for March 13 thru March 18

Weather forecast for March 13 thru March 18

Spring has arrived early here in the Salt Lake City area, our highs are predicted to be between 14 and 22 degrees warmer than our historical average for the rest of this week. Nice weather for photographing birds but worrisome because the snow in the high country will be melting too early and too fast.

(insert sarcasm) Sure, there is no such thing as climate change.

12 Comments

  1. Azstu March 13, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Great photos Mia

  2. Patty Chadwick March 13, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    What a wonderful series!!! Am coming to it pretty ate…busy prepping for big storm supposedly on its way…

  3. Diane McPherson-Stern March 13, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    She is so so pretty. What does the male look like.Probably very handsome

  4. April Olson March 13, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    Beautiful photos and I am sure and enjoyable day for you.

  5. Utahbooklover March 13, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Great series of images. Just back from Las Vegas where it also feels like spring. I’m ready!

  6. Elephant's Child March 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Windswept and lovely.
    Thank you.

  7. Keith Nichols March 13, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Another great series of beautiful photos. One of my goals is to be able to focus on a Belted Kingfisher some day. So far, no luck. I’ve seen them in flight but they never land close enough. Such is life.

  8. Pepe Forte March 13, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Great set of pics Mia. I can’t get over the richness of colors, textures and, as always, the detail. Extraordinary. Thanks.

  9. Jo Smith March 13, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Wonderful series. Can’t believe your weather forecast,. In the Ozarks we had an inch of snow yesterday which melted by noon and another half inch last night, wasn’t below freezing so it will melt soon. Highs in the 40’s with lows in the 30’s and 20’s for this week. So much for photographing spring flowers.

  10. Liz Cormack March 13, 2017 at 7:28 am

    OMGosh…..beautiful photos. To me they are so elusive that even getting one photo is a triumph. How wonderful to have her “pose” for you.

  11. Jan goddefroy March 13, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Nice pictures

  12. Roger Burnard March 13, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Another great series Mia… You, and Ron make a great team,
    delivering beautiful images on a consistent basis. Well done. ;-)))

Comments are closed.