Kingfisher And Spanish Moss
Photograph - Photograph
A belted kingfisher perched in an old Spanish moss covered tree.
This scene is along the Ocklawaha River, just downstream from Starkes Ferry in the Sunnyhill Restoration Area.
Belted kingfishers are found along sheltered waters year round in most of the continental United States except north-central, southwest and the southern tip of the Florida peninsula. In summer the range extends north through much of Canada and Alaska except for the most northern regions. In the winter belted kingfishers can also be found in the southern areas of the US and into Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean coast of South America.
Ceryle alcyon is the only kingfisher that occurs in Florida. The territorial call is a harsh, unsteady clattering. The belted kingfisher also makes a higher, shorter and more musical rapid trill.
This is one of the most reliably seen birds when canoeing or kayaking on Florida waterways. They perch in the trees over water and when approached will fly, arcing out over the river, to a perch farther away. This flight pattern is repeated until the bird reaches the end of its territory, at which point it will fly in a bigger and often higher arc back to the area it came from. Typically another kingfisher will soon be seen and followed along the river repeating the same behavior.
Spanish moss is a distinctive characteristic of the southeastern United States and can be found throughout Florida, most often in live oak and bald cypress trees. Tillandsia usneoides is the same family as the many other native Florida airplants, all of which are related to the pineapple.
March 11th, 2015
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