Tuesday, November 30, 2010

White-tailed Kite in New Jersey

Sometimes you lose track of who you tell what when it comes to birds. I talk to friends, family, colleagues, visitors, interested non-birders, even reporters at times, and it becomes a jumble in my head. Somehow, I did not realize that I had not posted about what was very likely "our" White-tailed Kite that showed up in New Jersey on October 21. The last date it was seen here in Connecticut was October 10. This was some fantastic news, and I apologize for not mentioning it here sooner. The two photos here are mine from its stay at Stratford Point.

Classic White-tailed Kite leg-dangling hover hunting over Stratford Point in September

Initial reports were a bit confusing, but it eventually became obvious there was definitely a White-tailed Kite there. McDuffy Barrow first reported it in the Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge impoundment along Bayshore Drive. This is in Barnegat Township in Ocean County. It seems to have been seen at a far distance but identifiable as it is such a unique species. Subsequent visits allowed McDuffy to relocate it and birders from all across the state were soon to follow. It was not nearly as accessible as when it was at Stratford Point. Often enough birders have had to use very big lenses and scopes to get any decent photos. A few have been able to get some closer shots, and the photos I have seen suggest it is the same bird apart from the obvious logic behind it. Google Earth and maps depicts the area as very good habitat for a White-tailed Kite. You can see it by clicking here.

Last photo I ever took of the White-tailed Kite on October 5 as it looked quite miserable in the cold rain. It did not even bother to look at me and it was obviously contemplating a departure.

It appears the last confirmed sighting of the raptor was on November 11. I have not read any negative or positive reports after that date, but do not take that as anything more than what I have gleaned from public information. Perhaps it traveled once again to warmer regions, or finally headed back "home" wherever that may be.

Photos © Scott Kruitbosch

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