Monday, August 2, 2010

Stratford Point this afternoon...

After posing patiently for the better part of the day, the White-tailed Kite on Stratford Point left us for a few hours by mid-afternoon. The weather had gotten pretty hot and humid by then and it appeared that the bird was ready for a siesta in the shade. Intrepid birders spotted it shortly after it disappeared in the top of a tree lining the north end of our coastal grassland management area. It was not visible from Stratford Point, but okay views were to be had from Riverdale and Ryegate Roads and several people watched from there. Frank Gallo dropped by with a group of kids from his Expeditions Summer Camp, who had all patiently scanned the skies above Stratford Point for quite a while already and were ecstatic to finally get a look at this rarity. Locals and neighbors joined us to see what all the commotion on their streets was about and in no time birdwatchers of all ages were getting a glimpse of the kite in the tree top.

Frank Gallo with his Expedition Summer Camp group and several other birders check out the kite

Several dedicated birders kept watch while the White-tailed Kite took a break from the excitement. Their patience was well worth it once the bird took flight again and started hunting over Stratford Point again.

Around 5:30PM the White-tailed Kite left its tree-top hideout and strafed the grassland area on Stratford Point in search of prey, giving great looks.

It would occasionally venture out over the shoreline, alertly scanning its surroundings. Just like yesterday, the bird was constantly harassed by the many Common Terns that frequent the area. The video that Scott took yesterday shows how intense life for a raptor can get at times! The number of terns surrounding the kite was quite amazing and it was regularly immersed in a cloud of them.

The White-tailed Kite surrounded by several Common Terns. The kite is the bird on the bottom left of the flock (click on the image to enlarge it for a better view)

Even though it was constantly being harassed by other birds, the kite still hovered repeatedly. It did not seem to be bothered in the least by the swarm of terns buzzing it. I just heard that it was quite successful in its endeavor and managed to catch another meadow vole this afternoon. So far this bird has little reason to abandon Stratford Point and we're all hoping it will still be present tomorrow morning!

Common Tern in hot pursuit!

I wanted to thank everybody who visited Stratford Point today for being such responsible birders. It was fantastic to see people from 9 to 90 years old get equally excited about a bird, and it was especially nice to see that everyone kept a respectful distance so that the kite would not be disturbed in any way, making it possible for many people to get fantastic looks. Hopefully we will receive many more equally fantastic visitors to Stratford Point, both human and otherwise!

All photographs copyright Twan Leenders

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