Fishing bird

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Kingfisher silhouetted against the Indian River Lagoon, with Sewall’s Point beyond.

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A kingfisher always has his fishing gear with him. This one is also having a cool hair day.

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Humans need rods and lines and hooks and bait.

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East Island Access Bridge is a popular fishing spot for people and birds.

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Little Blue Heron and Snowy Egret share a tree.

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Pretty close to the same size, they are both in the Ardeidae (Heron) family.

The herons are the long-legged freshwater and coastal birds in the family Ardeidae, with 64 recognised species, some of which are referred to as “egrets” or “bitterns” rather than herons.

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It’s almost like the egret’s shadow is sitting next to him.

First morning in Florida

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Brown Pelican above the Indian River Lagoon. As you can see, we’re not in New Hampshire anymore.

Yesterday was our first full day in our new home, a little green concrete-block-and-stucco house built in 1969. So much to do, boxes everywhere, but I made time for a morning bird walk.

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I tried for a couple of years to get a good shot of a Belted Kingfisher. We used to see one or two at our pond in warmer (no ice) months. They were flighty little alarmists there. Here one is posed nicely, almost mellowly!, in sunshine on a bridge railing.

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The Ernest Lyons Bridge connects our new hometown of Sewall’s Point to Hutchinson Island, a barrier island on the Atlantic Coast. The area near the west side of the bridge has lot of Ospreys. First you hear them, with their high, piercing, almost plaintive whistles.

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Then you seen them fishing, or looking for fish.

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Unique among North American raptors for its diet of live fish and ability to dive into water to catch them, Ospreys are common sights soaring over shorelines, patrolling waterways, and standing on their huge stick nests, white heads gleaming. These large, rangy hawks do well around humans and have rebounded in numbers following the ban on the pesticide DDT. Hunting Ospreys are a picture of concentration, diving with feet outstretched and yellow eyes sighting straight along their talons.

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Osprey on the bridge railing, doing well among humans.

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We visited this area in April, July and September and I always see ospreys here. In New Hampshire they were migratory. Looks like we can enjoy them year-round in Florida, woohoo!..

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Ospreys are unusual among hawks in possessing a reversible outer toe that allows them to grasp with two toes in front and two behind. Barbed pads on the soles of the birds’ feet help them grip slippery fish. When flying with prey, an Osprey lines up its catch head first for less wind resistance.

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Wonder what that fish is thinking.

Fisher king

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It’s a kingfisher, I swear! And I’m counting it as backyard bird #57.

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I have been trying to get a photo of a Belted Kingfisher out by the pond for a few years now. I either don’t have my camera with me when they are perched and holding still or I do have my camera with me and they zoom past like little aerial missiles (see above).

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.

They are noisy and I often hear them before (or without) seeing them.

Male and female Belted Kingfishers give strident, mechanical rattles in response to the slightest disturbance. When threatened they may give screams, which males sometimes combine with harsh calls.

Hello, kingfisher

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Driving along Route 1A near Rye Harbor, I spotted a small bird with a distinctive profile perched on a wire overlooking Awcomin Marsh.

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Belted kingfisher!

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Keeping an eye out for an afternoon snack on a rainy summer day.

Belted Kingfishers live mostly on a diet of fish including sticklebacks, mummichogs, trout, and stonerollers. They also eat crayfish and may eat other crustaceans, mollusks, insects, amphibians, reptiles, young birds, small mammals, and even berries. A kingfisher looks for prey from a perch that overhangs water, such as a bare branch, telephone wire, or pier piling. When it spots a fish or crayfish near the surface, it takes flight, dives with closed eyes, and grabs the prey in its bill with a pincer motion. Returning with its prize, it pounds the prey against the perch before swallowing it head first. It may also hover above the water instead of searching from a perch. As nestlings, Belted Kingfishers digest the bones and scales they consume, but by the time they leave the nest they begin disgorging pellets of fish skeletons and invertebrate shells.

There are some very beautiful, colorful members of the family Alcidinidae.

Kingfisher

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.