Black and white kingfisher eating a fish
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Gallery: some birds that eat fish

I sat motionless on the deck of our beautiful bungalow at Souimanga Lodge in Senegal. The Pied Kingfisher on the nearby fence gripped his just-caught fish in his long bill. I hoped to see him flip it and swallow it; my camera was poised to capture the moment. But suddenly the fish flapped its tail and twisted out of his grasp. Fish gone, the bird flew off, and I like him was left ruing the one that got away.

I am by no means an expert on birds – far from it – but I do like photographing them. I have been enjoying Lisa’s Bird Weekly posts and have decided to join in the fun from time to time. So for this week’s theme, here are a few …

Birds that eat fish

Pied Kingfishers are among my favourite birds, and they have a great habit of staying in the same place long enough to be photographed, unlike most kingfishers.

Souimanga is a water bird lover’s paradise. Each bungalow has its own private deck looking out on to the Sine Saloum Delta. At the end of a wooden jetty there are comfortable bean bags and shade, perfect for relaxing, camera in hand, to see what birds will pass by. There are pelicans …

Pelican swimming past mangrove trees
Pelican among the mangroves, Souimanga Lodge, Senegal

… egrets (I believe this is a Little Egret but I may be wrong) …

Large white bird with yellow feet
Little Egret, Souimanga Lodge, Senegal

… and of course herons – this I think is a Grey Heron

Large grey bird wading
Grey Heron, Souimanga Lodge, Senegal

Talking of herons, on a visit to a local (small) stately home last November, Osterley Park, we came across the least timid heron I have ever seen. He posed so beautifully for us as we both took lots of photos. He must be used to people stopping to admire him!

Large grey bird among bullrushes by a lake
Grey Heron, Osterley Park

Caught in the act

But let me finish with another bird actually eating a fish. While road tripping in Washington State a few years ago we went on a boat ride from Cornet Bay through Deception Pass. This is a narrow channel which separates Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island, some miles north of Seattle. It is most famous for the iron bridge that spans it, but the most exciting sight of our excursion by far was this Bald Eagle. He was perched on a dead tree in the water and allowed our pilot to steer the boat quite close. I managed to get several shots of him tucking into this eel, before he tired of having an audience while enjoying his meal and flew off to eat somewhere more private among the trees on shore.  

Bald Eagle on dead branch draped with weed
Bald Eagle, Cornet Bay, WA
Bald Eagle eating eel
Bald Eagle eating eel, Cornet Bay, WA

I visited Senegal in 2016 and Washington State in 2017

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