Belted Kingfisher at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
I've seen the Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) a few times on my trail along the Tuolumne River, but they've kept their distance, and it has been fairly hard to get clear pictures. We were headed home from the holiday travels, and noted previously, we stopped at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in the Central Valley of California. We were excited to see a pair of Bald Eagles while we were there, and thought the birding was over with when we got back to the visitor center at the end of the auto-tour. And wouldn't you know, there was a Belted Kingfisher hanging out around the pond at the visitor center!
I got a couple of fairly decent shots, although they are still a bit fuzzy at the distance. The brown-colored breast feathers indicate a female (one of the few birds in which the females are more brightly colored).