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My Nemesis Bird – Finally Got It

Belted Kingfisher (female)

By: Pat Coate

Taking a break from the Roger Tory Peterson Festival this week to gloat over finally capturing a decent photo of a belted kingfisher. This is one of several nemesis birds – ones that I see fairly frequently but ones that prove quite uncooperative when I reach for the camera.

My typical encounter with these birds is that I hear one as it flies away from me up river. I might catch another glimpse further along as it flies further up river or crosses the river rattling away. I’ve managed a few photos but most were quickly deleted.

Belted Kingfisher (female)

This surprisingly photogenic female was encountered at the Conesus Lake Inlet. I had just pulled into the parking lot when I noticed a bird land on a small tree along the creek. After confirming its identity I ignored it as I gathered my gear, figuring it would be long gone before I got my camera out. But much to my surprise and delight it actually flew to a tree even closer to where I was parked.

Here’s looking at you kid

It looked me over and stayed just long enough for me to fire off a couple quick shots.

Despite their photographic challenges, these are interesting birds. They are somewhat stately in appearance but sometimes their head seems too big for their body. They often nest in tunnels built into river banks excavated with their formidable bills (“Squillante nose”). And it is fun to watch them fish by diving face first into the water (but always out of camera range!).

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Belted Kingfishers (female on left, male on right)

My previous ‘best’ photo of kingfishers.

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