Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mississippi Kites

Last night Steven McDonald on Perthshire St. emailed me to say there were several Mississippi Kites roosting in their pecan tree. These are migratory hawks that we only get to see a few times a year in the neighborhood. I love seeing them because they are such elegant fliers and have such subtle colors. Usually I only see them flying over in small groups, so I was excited to hear that some were roosting for the night in our neighborhood. This morning I was lucky enough to find a small group of 4 Mississippi Kites near the Lake Creek Trail footbridge. I got these 2 pictures of them before they took off, on their way south. These birds nest and migrate in groups and I was surprised to read in the Birds of North America Online that very little is known about their winter range. Only a few sighting records exist from South America. Such a gap in our knowledge of a large obvious animal like this is a reminder of how much we have left to discover about birds.

The kites were the birds of the morning, but I enjoyed finding a few other interesting birds. In the patch of woods near the last dam on Lake Creek I found a mixed species foraging flock that had 2 Carolina Wrens, 2 Bewick's Wrens, 2 Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, a Carolina Chickadee, a White-eyed Vireo, and 2 Yellow Warblers. Across the creek in some woods by the new flood control wall, I spent some time next to the small tributary creek and watched this juvenile Green Heron which didn't seem to mind my presence and went about its normal business.

While I was there a male Wilson's Warbler made a brief appearance and I was lucky enough to get this photo. You can just barely see its black cap.

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