The Belted Kingfisher is one of my favorite waterfront birds. Their powder blue and white coloration and ruffled “Woody Woodpecker”-like crest make them great birds to photograph, especially females that have a rusty brown band across their bellies. Kingfishers have a very distinctive call, a high-pitched rattle, and you can hear them coming from a long way away as their call echoes across the water.
These birds are often found on high perches overlooking the water, scanning the surface for fish, crayfish, or insects that they swoop down on and pluck from the water. I do a lot of my photography on the waterfront in Edmonds, Washington, where Kingfishers often perch on a salmon sculpture that sits atop the port’s rocky breakwater, as seen in the photograph above. This provides a fairly reliable place to find and photograph Kingfishers. They can also often be spotted perched high atop the masts of boats moored in the marina, scanning the waters of the port for their next meal.
The photograph above is of a Kingfisher that had spotted something to eat in the water, and then launched itself from its perch on the salmon sculpture, towards its prey. These birds move very quickly, and a fast camera shutter speed is needed to freeze their actions when they are diving. My shutter speed for this photo was 1/800 sec, which wasn’t quite fast enough to completely freeze the action, although I think the blurring of the wings is actually nice because it adds a sense of motion to the shot.
Photos taken with a Nikon D7100 camera and Nikon 80-400 mm VR lens.