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Belted Kingfisher

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Female Belted Kingfisher in flight over water with wings aloft (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)

These small birds with their large heads, long pointed beaks and rapid flight are incredibly challenging to photograph in flight. On a trip to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge last fall I watched several of these little speedy fliers zip around over the water. They are so quick I can understand why they are called Kingfishers as they swiftly catch fish and dart back to safety to eat their meal.

The Seldom Seen

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Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron perched on dead limb in evening light (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)

I was intently focused on photographing Belted Kingfishers in flight as they darted by my camera one evening at Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge. The sun was quickly setting and I turned around and this “jewel” sat on a dead limb directly behind me! I thought it was a Juvenile Black-Crowned Night-Heron because I had seen several flying around earlier but something was very different. It was the seldom seen Juvenile Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron.

Coming in for a Landing

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 (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)

If you live in an area where these immense birds are common this is not an unusual find, but for me this was an exciting photo capture. These birds have an enormous wingspan and this one looks like it is skiing as it is landing right in front of me. I think he is putting his best foot forward. What do you think?