Male Belted Kingfisher at Farmington Bay WMA

Resting Belted Kingfisher maleResting Belted Kingfisher male – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I wasn’t expecting to see a handsome male Belted Kingfisher at Farmington Bay WMA yesterday but that is exactly what happened and I was able to get some nice photos of him too.

Perched male Belted Kingfisher at Farmington BayPerched male Belted Kingfisher at Farmington Bay – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Anyone who has ever tried to photograph Belted Kingfishers knows that they are skittish and will take off with a rattling call almost before you can focus on them so when you can get focused on them and take a nice series of images it is a very good day.

The Belted Kingfisher yesterday seemed to be resting at first and for a bit I thought it might cast a pellet because it kept opening its bill but after a bit the kingfisher started to stretch its wings down at his sides.

Belted Kingfisher with exposed nictitating membraneBelted Kingfisher with exposed nictitating membrane – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And then the kingfisher lifted both wings bilaterally over its back. In this frame the nictitating membrane is over the kingfisher’s eye. I liked how the membrane has the same blue-gray color of the kingfisher’s plumage so I wanted to include this image even though I don’t truly have eye contact with my subject in it.

Male Belted Kingfisher wing lift with open billMale Belted Kingfisher wing lift with open bill – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

A couple of frames later I was able to get light in the eye of the kingfisher with its lifted wings and open bill. The kingfisher wasn’t calling while this occurred and I don’t believe the kingfisher was yawning either.

Male Belted Kingfisher with open billMale Belted Kingfisher with open bill – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The kingfisher raised its body towards the end of its wing stretching session with its bill still wide open. I found it interesting that during the entire wing stretching and lifting session that the male kingfisher had his crest laid flat against his head.

Perched Male Belted KingfisherPerched Male Belted Kingfisher – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And then he perched with his crest raised for a few seconds in the morning sun while looking straight towards me.

I love their powdery blue-gray plumage, their shaggy crests, the belts across their chests, their dark eyes and long, sharp bills.

Belted Kingfisher male about to take offBelted Kingfisher male about to take off – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

In the blink of an eye the male Belted Kingfisher took off from its perch and headed out over the marsh. My shutter speed wasn’t set fast enough to get sharp images of the kingfisher right after he left the perch and I wish it had been. Maybe next time I’ll get those take off and flight images with the sharpness I desire.

It is always a good day when I can photograph a Belted Kingfisher for as long as I had this one in my viewfinder yesterday.

Life is good.

Ma

13 Comments

  1. Pepe Forte November 6, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Amazing photos Mia. Simply amazing. Thanks.

  2. Wally November 4, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I can count the number of “close to decent” images I’ve managed to get of Kingfishers on one hand. Kudos! These photographs are superb!

  3. Deborah Flowers November 4, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Just gorgeous Mia! This is a really great set of photos.
    He’s a handsome lil guy!

  4. Elephant's Child November 4, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    Beautiful images. Of a beautiful bird.
    Thank you.

  5. Linda Laugen November 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Are these birds as tiny as they seem in your photos? I don’t think I have ever seen one! To me , they look and probably sound like rowdy frat boys “the morning after!”

    • Utahbooklover November 16, 2016 at 5:52 pm

      Beautiful images! L 13″ WS 20″ Wt 5 oz (150 g) says Sibley Guide.

  6. Patty Chadwick November 4, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    This evil iPad HATES ME! It screws up my words almost everytime….

  7. M. Bruce November 4, 2016 at 9:54 am

    What a great series Mia! It certainly is my experience that these birds are extremely skittish, so getting closeups like these is a real accomplishment – congratulations.

  8. Patty Chadwick November 4, 2016 at 8:55 am

    What a wonderful morning!!!!!!!! Our son came thriugh back surgery VERY successfully yesterday and I started a beautiful, sunny Autumn day with two amazinf series!!! You and Ron have oit done yourselves…how goid can it get!!! Putting the two together is incredible!!!!

  9. Liz Cormack November 4, 2016 at 7:59 am

    How lucky you were to have this male pose for you. Beautiful photos.

  10. Bob McPherson November 4, 2016 at 6:49 am

    Absolutely gorgeous images, Mia. They are usually very elusive.

  11. Kim November 4, 2016 at 6:35 am

    He’s so cute! I’ve never seen this bird before, so this is great!

  12. Steven Kessel November 4, 2016 at 6:08 am

    Fantastic. We have Kingfishers down here in Arizona but I’ve never been able to get close enough for an image.

Comments are closed.