Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Kingfishers and crabs

The past week I have become enchanted with Kingfishers. They've always been an elusive subject but with my new camera and 150-600mm lens I finally feel like I can do them justice. A breeding pair of them feed at low tide in an area near the childrens playground at the Whakatane Heads, the male brightly coloured and bolder in attitude too. Their main food source right now is crabs which they are catching in abundance. They catch the crab in their substantially sized beak and the first mission is to break enough of its legs to enable it to be swallowed. This they do by bashing the crab violently against a rock. I have photographed this action and noticed that while they are doing this the nictitating membrane  covers the eye to protect it. This is a translucent membrane that acts as a third eyelid to protect the birds eye, in this case protection from flying crabs legs! It accounts for the strange look in the kingfishers eye in photo number 4 and gives the appearance that the bird is blind. I can assure you this is not the case and they have excellent eyesight!

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