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