A Belted Kingfisher paused briefly on this dead limb over a view of a pond before swooping away.
Acutally, he flew almost into me as I was watching a Great Blue Heron standing at a water trunk. We both jumped and he made a speedy exit to this tree top down the trail.
I inched my way along the trail towards the tree, the Kingfisher zipped back to the spot he originally wanted on the trunk. This gave him a close view of the Ashley River just beyond the trunk and the rice field pond that now was between us.
Tormentor of this photographer, that is. I often see them at my favorite wildlife management area, but somehow they are always a few wing beats ahead.
I get closer, and just as the the camera is halfway up, zoom…
And sometimes they aren’t Kingfishers at all.
This is the first Belted Kingfisher I have seen since last fall and he gave me an amazing, if brief, aerial show.
When I first spotted him he was hovering over a small pond. Before I could lift my camera he was gone.
He came back a couple minutes later and I got a second opportunity.
He hovered for several seconds.
Assumed the dive position
And dove. I never saw him hit the water, actually never saw him again, despite waiting another 15 minutes.
Water levels in the large pond at Magnolia Cemetery are controlled with this screw mechanism connected to a gate that allows water to drain off into the marsh. I’ve often seen Belted Kingfishers that work the pond for food use it as a perch.
The Belted Kingfisher’s loud rattling call often helps you locate one, and I had watched one make several zippy trips across the pond without even getting to lift my camera. I took these from the car as we were leaving.
I got a little closer before another car came and captured this head on view showing off the Kingfisher’s top knot.
With amazing flying skill the Belted Kingfisher can hover continuously while eyeing the water below for a fish. I watched this one through two cycles of hover and dive; he didn’t enter the water either time.
I’ve posted photos of a Belted Kingfisher at this location before, posing on the beams of the re-purposed bridge. This visit did not disappoint as I spotted this female posing on a rotting piling, first squawking at a passing Snowy Egret.
She was then content to turn this way, then that way.
The afternoon sun lit her and the post up.
Then she was done. The tide was going out so we hoped that she was fishing and would return with a snack as we have seen her do. We waited for about five minutes and presumed she moved on to another of her favorite spots.