Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Female Belted Kingfisher

(Photo by Teddy Llovet, 2010)

In my last entry, I announced intentions to begin my own downsized version of what is known in the birding world as a "Big Year." (See last post for more info.)  True to promise, last weekend I went on my favorite 2.5 mile hike with the family dog, Rosie, to see what birds I could identify. Though a quiet birding day, at the outset of our walk, I was happily surprised by the unmistakable "rattle" call of the Belted Kingfisher. I caught a mere glimpse of the bird flying low over the sizable pond. Even so, I knew it was a Kingfisher by the sound--reminiscent of an old-fashioned tin noisemaker.  A proper sighting, however, eluded me, so Rosie and I continued onto the trail. 

Along the way, we heard the drumming of a Pileated Woodpecker  and the kwirr call of a Red-bellied Woodpecker. But the most active birds about that day were Tufted Titmice, everywhere singing Peter, Peter, Peter. When our hike was done, we returned to the pond for a quick swim (for Rosie, that is). But I too got a refreshment, for whom do you think made my acquaintance? 

Yes, the Belted Kingfisher. 

Unlike the Canada Geese, who took loud, honking exception to our intrusions, this female kingfisher seemed only slightly distracted. She flew twice over the pond before perching atop a bush growing from its bank. And there she sat, allowing me as much time as wanted to gaze upon her glory.  Viewing her from a considerable distance on a sunless day, I could just make out the chestnut band that distinguishes her from the male, who has but one blue-gray band.  The female has two bands across her white breast, a parfait of colors both blue-gray and chestnut.  

It's always a delight to see and/or hear the Belted Kingfisher. My only photograph was of a male, taken at my own pond (See this posting of April 25, 2011). Sadly, I no longer live there. Happily, I can visit the pond at Strawberry Hill whenever I like, and I like to often.  Until then, please enjoy the image of a female Belted Kingfisher with a fish provided by photographer Teddy Llovet, who contributed her photo for use by the public to WikiCommons in July 2010.

Until next time . . . Keep birds in your heart!

Georgia Anne Butler 

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