Friday, January 06, 2006

Early Morning Visitors

*double click on images to enlarge

White Throated Kingfisher

White Cheeked Bulbuls

Pied Kingfisher Couple

Hovering Pied Kingfisher

Magpie

The weather this morning is overcast and brisk. Adjacent to the building here at Camp Fallujah housing my makeshift studio there's a half-acre pond surrounded by palms and flowering ornamental shrubs. On sunny days it's a nice place to just sit, relax and think deep thoughts. Today the usual suspects were active around it; magpies, white cheeked bulbuls, sparrows all puffed up in the chill air and a pair of very distinguished looking geese waddling about hoping for handouts. This morning there was a special treat, a pair of pied kingfishers plying the pond for food. The pond, about six feet deep at the center, is well stocked with a variety of orange and cream koi and chinese goldfish. There are three varieties of kingfishers in Iraq, and I've seen two, the white throated and the pied, fishing this pond. They only seem to appear in the early morning. An observant fellow Marine suggested that perhaps the angle of the sunlight has something to do with it. These kingfishers, at first glance, look like oversized hummingbirds hovering and manuevering with quick starts and stops above the water. Suspended in mid-air and then dropping with lightning speed into the water, these stout long peaked birds are as graceful as they are deadly. They hover at a height close enough to observe the furious beating of their wings and the quick rudder adjustments of their lobster-like tails. Today's pair were obviously male and female. Although both were black and white, as you can see in the photos, with obvious differences in their size and color pattern. If you know, based on the pictures, which is male and which is female, please enlighten us.

1 comment:

Beth* A. said...

PIED KINGFISHER. Ceryle rudis Identification ... Male and female easily distinguished by their breastbands, (a dark band of feathers running crossways underneath the neck of a bird) double in the male and single in the female ... But I can't quite tell from the picture. Also according to Google, the male is bigger than the female. That part helps.
Amazing colors!!! How neat to have these in your 'backyard'.