Dec 27 2008

Only a Kingfisher

Published by at 3:52 pm under Water and Shore

Male Belted Kingfisher (photo by Chuck Tague)Saturday I stopped at Duck Hollow in hopes of seeing some interesting birds.  What I hadn’t counted on was the flooding of the Mongahela River. 

It rained a lot earlier in the week (and even more yesterday evening) so the river was high and fast and muddy with debris floating on water – garbage and worse.  

All I found at Duck Hollow were a lot of mallards and about five fishermen.  The mallards were loafing, the fishermen were catching fish.   The men didn’t need to see the fish in the muddy water, just feel them on the line, so they were having a successful day.  But there were no shorebirds, no gulls, no fish-eating birds because their preferred habitat was temporarily gone.

I was disappointed by the lack of diversity until I heard a belted kingfisher chatter along Nine Mile Run.  The creek used to roar down to the river during heavy rain but the Nine Mile Run Watershed Association restored it with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers.  Thanks to a series of rocky waterfalls the creek takes a little longer to make the journey and erodes the valley a little less. 

One of the fishermen pointed out that the water was clear in the creek just above the first waterfall.  That’s where the kingfisher was hunting.  

I found the bird among the trees and examined him for a while through my binoculars.  Have you ever noticed that kingfishers have a white dot in front of each eye?  I wonder why.

There was only a kingfisher worth watching at Duck Hollow but I noticed something new.  Discovering those white dots made the trip worthwhile.

(photo by Chuck Tague)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Only a Kingfisher”

  1. Vicki & Chyckon 28 Dec 2008 at 11:55 am

    Happy holidays, Kate! We look forward to your warm, informative entries in 2009.

  2. lindaon 29 Dec 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Christmas morning found me sitting at the dining room table, coffee cup in hand, feeling guilty that I had not replenished the food for the birds the night before. Then, all of a sudden, my lamenting turned to delight. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and there was a large red tail sitting in my tree looking down on my feeders. He soon left for my neighbors fence and I thought he might come back but was soon gone for good. I love watching the hawks and feel a special thrill when I see them but dread seeing them take their meal from my little backyard haven. Wishing you a wonderful new year and I look forward to your 2009 updates.

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