Ever since I really was aware of birds, the Belted Kingfisher was among my favorite species. I’ve always lived and recreated around water, which means I’ve always lived and recreated among lovely blue-gray Kingfishers.

Once you hear them, you’ll never not be aware that you are around them. They aren’t very subtle, chittering away when they’re perched, while they’re flying and even as they are about to partake in their namesake activity: fishing.

Where the Kingfisher and I diverged was when I took up photography. I learned to photography birds, even fast-moving ones such as swallows. But, for years, the Kingfisher was my photography nemesis bird.

The times I got fairly close, I didn’t yet know what I was doing or my lenses didn’t have the reach. When I obtained the gear and the skills, I either never got close enough or I didn’t have my camera when I was.

One day, I heard the familiar chittering, only to spy the Kingfisher across a channel from me. Another photographer later appeared, fairly well camouflaged and pretty close, and the bird put on a show. I debated about moving, but didn’t, and kicked myself ever since.

Then I discovered a place about an hour north of Seattle, where I live. A pair of Belted Kingfishers, a female (distinguished by her extra, rust-colored “belt”) and male, lived there. In about two months time, I went up at least weekly and observed and photographed.

The last few times, I made these images. You might think that the Kingfishers just got used to me. But I know better: It certainly was the other way around.

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