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Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Belted Kingfisher Along the River

Published December 26, 2013
Tags: General Observations, Belted Kingfisher, Glaucous Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Bonaparte's Gull, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Merganser, Mallard, American Black Duck

I went down to the waterfront today, looking for white-winged gulls and a Purple Sandpiper.  I met up with Jim Pawlicki and Sal while looking for the Purple Sandpiper - and, try as we might, we couldn't relocate the Purple Sandpiper Jim had found yesterday. I had no luck finding an Iceland nor Thayer's Gull at both spots I was at either. BUT - I did get 2 nice flyovers by a Glaucous Gull at Rich Marine. (I found out later from Jim that I had most likely missed 2 Snowy Owls there though!)

After the flyovers from the Glaucous Gull, I thought I should go back to the car and get my camera in hope of catching a shot of the white-winged gull.  I've already seen and photographed a Glaucous before (A Little Gull Watching) but I thought it would be good to have a photo for ID verification. Also, some Common and Red-breasted Mergansers were swimming fairly close too, so photos were looking like a better idea and opportunity than I first thought.

Camera ready to go, I started scanning through the gulls again.  Suddenly, I heard a familiar "rattle".  A Belted Kingfisher?! I wasn't expecting that today!  Sure enough, though, I turned to my right and I believe it was a young male Belted Kingfisher sitting on the railing just a few yards from me.  Wow!  I took several photos before he decided he had had enough and flew off into the sun.

While some kingfishers will migrate, most will stick around the Great Lakes area all winter, moving from inland, frozen ponds and creeks to larger, unfrozen bodies of water. When their normal diet of fish is scarce, the kingfisher will eat mollusks, crustaceans, insects, amphibians, reptiles, berries - and even young birds or small mammals!  I was very surprised to find out they'll eat young birds or even a mouse!
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Belted Kingfisher (young male?)
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Belted Kingfisher
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Belted Kingfisher
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Belted Kingfisher
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A very common Ring-billed Gull
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Herring Gull
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Common Mergansers (and Mallards)
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Common Mergansers (and Red-breasted in the back)
Reply from: Tim on 12/27/2013 7:52 PM
 Great job on that kingfisher and owls Sue!
Reply from: Sue on 12/30/2013 7:58 AM
 Hi Tim, Thanks very much. Your photos are just awesome. I especially love your owl shots – and that Barred Owl from a couple years ago is amazing! Thanks so much for the kind words! ~ Sue