Tuesday, September 7, 2010

White-tailed Kite Day 38

I still wonder how high that day total is going to get. The White-tailed Kite is still at Stratford Point, and occasionally at Short Beach or the Coastal Center at Milford Point. I have not had a good look at it since Sunday night, though I suspect the tail molt still has a fair amount of time to go. We will indeed have a strong cold front passing through on Wednesday. Definitely get out there Thursday morning for southbound migrants! It should be a great morning. The front and ensuing northwest winds should then send you to the closest hawk watch site. It will undoubtedly be the best day yet this "fall" season. This is the perfect weather for the kite to depart in, but we suspect it will remain because of the ongoing molt. I feel like I have said that about 631 times in the past month plus, but it is still the case.

So here, as always, are several more contributed White-tailed Kite photos. The first three are from Kevin Doyle.

And these three photos are from Scott Vincent - thanks to both of them!

The last photo below, also from Scott Vincent, is of the first Northern Harrier at Stratford Point this "fall/winter" season.

It will obviously be fascinating to see how these two raptor species interact, especially because they are hunting the same prey - small mammals. Peregrine Falcons attack the White-tailed Kite on sight, while American Kestrels occasionally go after it, and Merlins largely leave it be. Ospreys, not sharing any prey with the kite whatsoever, only rarely interact with it. I imagine the kite will try to avoid any harriers, but we'll see what happens soon enough. Many Northern Harriers are seen at Stratford Point each year. Even after the kite departs...eventually...you should come visit to see these raptors up close.

Photos 1-3 © Kevin Doyle; photos 4-7 © Scott Vincent

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