Thursday, September 2, 2010

White-tailed Kite month #2 and early Earl pics

The White-tailed Kite has entered its second month at Stratford Point. It is beyond amazing. I do not know of anyone that thought this length of a stay probable or even considered it a possibility. Some people thought it would depart instantly, while others pointed to the molt and said it would have to stay for some long as it ate well. Yet here we are. It does need to replace some tail feathers, as you can see in the great photos below, so perhaps that will keep it around some more.

Thanks to Paul Fusco and Scott Vincent for those pictures. The past week was very tough, with record-setting hot and humid weather yet again. It was not a conducive week to depart on a long journey. When you consider the fact the White-tailed Kite will be leaving in a general direction, not knowing where to stop on the way for any source of acceptable habitat for feeding, you have to think it will leave when it is in perfect shape in optimal weather conditions. This will probably include a sunny, clear day that can build thermals (rising warm air that raptors utilize in migration), moderate temperatures, perfect visibility, and a heck of a tail wind from the north. We will have a couple days exactly like this one coming up soon. The next week will feature two cold fronts, the first in the wake of hurricane Earl.

I have not posted on Earl because, well, any discussion on a tropical cyclone can easily get out of hand and out of date. It is not particularly suited to the blog format. Suffice it to say we were spared a big hit once again in New England, and it seems on nearly the entire east coast. I took these photos of hurricane Earl on Thursday evening around 7PM from Stratford!

That is less than exciting, huh? Well, I was not lying - it is Earl. Those are cirrus clouds from Earl's outflow, the air flowing out from the storms embedded in the hurricane. No one would ever know they were the first "signs" of a hurricane if they looked at those pictures without being told. It is not exactly a flashing billboard. Thankfully, none of us needs that billboard, as the effects should be minimal and at worst comparable to the routine storm system we had early last week. We will see if it is strong enough to bring in rare birds from the sea or the south. Can Stratford Point score another big name species?

Photo 1 © Paul Fusco; photos 2-3 © Scott Vincent; photos 4-5 © Scott Kruitbosch

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