Chasing the dadgummed kingfisher

If you’ve ever tried to photograph a kingfisher, you know they dislike people about as much as they dislike snakes in their nests.  Most people hear kingfishers but never see them, or if they see them they only see this:

Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) in flight (2009_08_15_028353)
Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) in flight (2009_08_15_028354)
Female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) in flight (2009_09_26_029125)
Female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) in flight (2009_09_26_029140)

So when I set out yesterday morning to photograph the female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) who lives and hunts around Sunset Bay at White Rock Lake, I had my work cut out for me.

She bickered and complained each time I approached.  Moaning and groaning all the way, she would dash off to a most inconvenient perch, usually one across the bay or out in the middle of the lake, but sometimes nearby yet in a position that offered me nothing except the worst possible view.

Belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) perched on a stump far across a bay (2009_09_26_029076)
Female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) perched on a dead tree in the middle of the lake (2009_09_26_029133)
Female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) perched in the treetops (2009_09_26_029157)

I’m no fool, though.  Well, not much of one anyway.  I know her buttons and how not to press them, I know her territory and how she guards it, and most importantly, I know her ways and how to predict them.

So after she left the bay and headed inland along Dixon Branch, I followed, a casual stroll that took forever in my eyes—yet I knew she’d be waiting and where she’d be waiting, or at least thereabouts.

When I reached the bridge over the creek, I headed toward Loop 12, Buckner Boulevard, a six-lane nightmare for wildlife and a constant source of too much noise.  With all the people wandering about the lake sans a clue as to the goodies hiding just a few steps away, I figured the kingfisher would get away from the fishermen and the joggers and the cyclists and the teeming mass of people.

I was right.  Not too far from the thoroughfare in a place where plants on the bank gave her cover, I found her yammering away in protest of my intrusion.  I knew she had few options with all the people, so I anticipated where she’d go to get away from me.

On a perch in the wide open…

Female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) perched on a dead branch (2009_09_26_029388)
Female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) perched on a dead branch (2009_09_26_029404)
Female belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) perched on a dead branch (2009_09_26_029413)

Though I approached and felt happy with the opportunity to see her so closely, she flew the coop when some of the fishermen daftly walked up to her position.  They had less of a clue than a sack of wet hair…

7 thoughts on “Chasing the dadgummed kingfisher”

  1. Glad you liked it, Marie!

    The less cooperative nature subjects usually offer the greatest rewards, Mature4evr, so I’m always one to enjoy the challenges thrown my way. She is quite handsome, isn’t she?

    Thank you, Annette! And I’m surprised you’ve never heard the saying about a sack of wet hair. I thought it was a southern colloquialism.

  2. Very nice. I know exactly what you are talking about. I move upstream; they fly down. I move downstream; they fly up. Kingfishers have been one of the most frustrating species for me to photograph let alone photograph well. Good work.

  3. Thanks for visiting, Ed! I appreciate the compliment. It sounds like you’ve had your share of chasing kingfishers; your description of running to and fro made me laugh because it sounds all too familiar.

    Thanks, Anna! I’ve always loved their frazzled crest. And why was I thinking that saying about a sack of wet hair was more common, like a southern thing… I guess maybe it’s not.

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