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Post by Mike 21st July 2010, 1:30 pm

Been living here more than 25 years and they are always present by the stream and are big birds and brightly colored birds and loud birds but .......

Today, while watering the flower boxes on the bridge* I finally got to see a kingfisher close up.

* It's a covered bridge with four windows on each side and we have flower boxes on the ones facing south.

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Post by Dandelion 21st July 2010, 3:52 pm

Are they similar to kingfishers in the UK, or a totally different species?
What amazed me when I first saw a kingfisher was the intensity of the orange: you expect the bright blue, but the orange colouring is amazing.

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Post by Mike 22nd July 2010, 1:42 am

Dandelion wrote:Are they similar to kingfishers in the UK, or a totally different species?

Impossible to answer that question literally.

It was a belted kingfisher. We only have the one species in North America (but found almost everywhere there's fresh water for it to catch fish in)

Whether similar to kingfishers in Britain depends on which species of kingfisher. Our Megaceryle alcyon (Ceryle alcyon) wanders across to your side of the ocean enough that they aren't that rare a bird in the British Isles. They're ilisted in the regular section of your birding guides, not under "accidentals".

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Post by Dandelion 22nd July 2010, 5:05 pm

My trusty bird book has our Kingfisher as Alcedo atthis and says it's the only kingfisher in Europe.
Did you manage to get a photo? Would love to see it

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Compostwoman 22nd July 2010, 5:13 pm

Info on Belted Kingfisher plus a picture HERE
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Post by Dandelion 22nd July 2010, 5:16 pm

They're quite different, aren't they?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Compostwoman 22nd July 2010, 5:26 pm

But still recognisably both kingfishers


Very similar to a Kookaburra I thought ( which is also a kingfisher, so not really surprising)
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Post by Mike 22nd July 2010, 10:57 pm

Dandelion wrote:My trusty bird book has our Kingfisher as Alcedo atthis and says it's the only kingfisher in Europe.

A. atthis is the only kingfisher that belongs in Britain. But while our C. alcyon is rare your side of the pond, not so rare as to be considered an "accidental". Does sometimes wander over. Note that this is one of the unusual cases in birds where the female is more brightly colored than the male. Not all over the breast like yours, but female belted kingfishers sport some of the same bright rust there giving them more color than the males.

Now that the tiger lilies outside the kitchen door are blooming we are getting to see close ups of another bird you definitely don't have -- hummingbirds (the only species in the eastern US is the ruby throat -- and only the males have that). All head and wings (the body is tiny, they don't need much digestive tract to process sugar). You don't confuse hummingbirds with any other sort of bird but at dusk maybe mistake one of the really large moths like a luna. They are that small. Within 2 meters or so, the "hum" is distinctive, much louder than that of the moth. With their incredible metabolic rate in constant danger of starvation but not successfully preyed upon by anything. Their acceleration and manueverablity are incredible. To see at its best you put out a feeder and watch as interlopers stealing sips get driven off by the owner of this wonderful "flower" that has an endless supply of nectar. We don't put a feeder out here but there's one at the cabin. Easy for me to tell who are the "properieters" as he and she may perch to drink and drink longer sips but "interlopers" always hover ready for a quick escape and take short sips in between looking around.

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Post by Compostwoman 22nd July 2010, 11:04 pm

One of my very best memories of a memorable holiday in USA was seeing a hummingbird as we went down the Grand Canyon trail....

oh so wonderful!
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