As their name implies, Belted Kingfishers excel at hunting fish. And while fish make up the bulk of their diet, the birds are opportunistic: They also eat mollusks, crayfish, small mammals, young birds, and amphibians.
For a few days in September, Dave Pley watched the female pictured here hunting frogs at a marsh in a suburban neighborhood in Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island, in western British Columbia.
His time was well spent. After learning the kingfisher’s habits, he knew just when to shoot as the bird dove for another frog. His photo, which he shared in our Flickr group, shows the bird’s singular focus on its unseen prey. Its wings are pulled back, its spotted tail feathers are fanned, and its legs are tucked entirely into feathers, exposing only the feet.
Pley says he is “very pleased with the photo as kingfishers are hard to track
Inspired by his dad, a birder, Pley took his first photos of birds five years ago and hasn’t looked back. He works at a national auto-glass warehouse in Nanaimo.
He used the following equipment and settings to take the photograph:
Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon 400mm f/5.6L USM
Settings: 1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 400, manual mode
Format: TIFF, converted to JPG
A version of this article appeared in the December 2015 issue of BirdWatching magazine.
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