Kingfisher

kingfisher

Belted kingfisher on a wire next to Philbrick Marsh, North Hampton, this morning around 11:30 a.m.

kingfisher

They are not very large birds, but their shape is distinctive even from afar.

asters

Asters and rose hips.

I was having a nice seaside walk with camera over shoulder. It’s in the low 60s today, partly sunny to cloudy, and the fall colors are starting to come out.

belted kingfisher

A kingfisher is a bird that just makes you happy when you see one.

With its top-heavy physique, energetic flight, and piercing rattle, the Belted Kingfisher seems to have an air of self-importance as it patrols up and down rivers and shorelines.

belted kingfisher

Belted Kingfishers spend much of their time perched alone along the edges of streams, lakes, and estuaries, searching for small fish. They also fly quickly up and down rivers and shorelines giving loud rattling calls. They hunt either by plunging directly from a perch, or by hovering over the water, bill downward, before diving after a fish they’ve spotted.

belted kingfisher

These kingfishers are powder blue above with fine, white spotting on the wings and tail. The underparts are white with a broad, blue breast band. Females also have a broad rusty band on their bellies. Juveniles show irregular rusty spotting in the breast band.

A kingfisher visits our backyard pond too, mainly in summer, but I have never gotten a good picture of it.

Adorable downies

downy woodpecker

Dear little downy, the smallest woodpecker in North America.

This year we have a bumper crop of these sweet and fairly tame woodpeckers. When they were fledging they were all over the place, accidentally and on purpose.

downy woodpecker male

This one is a male, you can tell by the red patch on his head.

downy woodpecker

They just love the Feathered Friend brand suet cakes I get at our local Agway.

downy woodpecker female

This female Downy Woodpecker is enjoying some homemade suet dough in the platform feeder.

According to Chipper Woods Bird Observatory

In addition to its popularity with backyard bird feeding enthusiasts, the Downy Woodpecker provides a valuable service to our ecosystems. Its preference for insects, especially wood boring larvae, is of great economic benefit as many destructive insects pests are consumed. Overall, census data indicates that populations are holding steady, although population declines are occurring in some areas.

The availability of suitable nest sites plays an important role in population distribution. Managing woodlands to retain dead trees and snags for nesting will go a long way toward maintaining a healthy population of these and other cavity nesting birds.

We certainly have plenty of dead trees out behind our house so I’m glad we never bother cleaning them up!

Oh, September!

Sunny, dry, warm-but-not-hot weather. It doesn’t get any better than this in coastal northern New England.

This little goldfinch is the ambassador of our perfect day.

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Crippled grackle

bumfoot

A grackle with a messed up foot has been visiting off and on for a couple of weeks.

grackle

I feel bad for it.

I think having some easy-to-get food around has helped it.

The persistent guest

The Whooper Swan is still hanging around. I sneaked out there this morning and filmed her (?) from afar looking in the windows of my husband’s shop.

Nobody in there, but I think she can see her reflection. Is she trying to make friends? Or was she just eating bugs?