Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Swallow-Tailed Kite Tale

Most times, birding (or the search for a particular bird) involves trekking through weeds, brush, grass, forest, swamps, etc. Other times, it requires hours with your eyes pressed into binoculars or a scope. My least favorite type of birding would be trying to pick out a ROSS' GOOSE amongst several thousand SNOW GEESE. Ugh. More often than not, birding is all about patience, research, preparation and experience. Too often, my wife thinks, it translates to me spending several hours covered in bug spray and sun screen far away from home.I'm not the most careful birder, and certainly not the best at identification... (as evidenced by several recent identification blunders) but I do enjoy it when my preparation and research pays off.Take for example this SWALLOW-TAILED KITE that my family and I saw recently on our North Carolina vacation. I did my research for this species, noting it's habits and haunts. I scoured (okay, I googled) the internet looking for clues as to where the best chances were to possibly see one of these magnificent fliers.Lock 1 Road, just outside of Wilmington, NC was one such site where recent sightings had been reported. Since it's right on the Cape Fear river, and the habitat looked good, I figured it was worth making the special request to my wife for a family visit. So I told her it was only a ten or fifteen minute diversion from our beeline path from Annapolis to Holden Beach, NC.It was about an hour off course, but well-worth the extra time and travel.As soon as arrived, we visited the local rest area. I pointed out to my wife a soaring MISSISSIPPI KITE. Looking up, she asked, "What's that?" "Great spot Em!" I answered, "That's an ANHINGA." But before all these great birds could be thoroughly enjoyed, a different kind of nature was calling. It was, after all, a very long drive that day.I walked out of the bathroom (like you needed those details?) and thought to myself, "I sure hope finding this bird doesn't take hours, because it's crazy hot and humid and I don't think Emery and Declan will be too patient with me!"I looked up. SWOOSH! There it was... a SWALLOW-TAILED KITE. Mere feet above my head. I sprinted to the car and grabbed my camera (*set to 'overexpose') and fired off as many shots as possible, before the bird eventually flew off into the surrounding trees.Tomorrow:
The story of my misidentified ____ (fill in the blank)_____.

Best,
-Dan

1 comment:

dAwN said...

Awesome shots! Looking forward to you misidentified birds..Ive been there done that..too many times.

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