Friday, August 17, 2012

Wisconsin White-tailed Kite

Wisconsin White-tailed Kite
 So today the weather was nice so I decided to take a half of a day off and head up to Crex Meadows in Wisconsin. Since it is mid August things were a bit slow. Except for a few warblers that I was able to pish out I was mostly just shooting butterflies. That was until I turned on to Murphys Road. As I began to drive down the road a large white bird flushed from a tree on the right side of the road. It flew north and landed in a tree on the opposite side of the road.
Wisconsin White-tailed Kite
 My first thought was that it was a kite but since kites are very rare in this part of the country I figured that I just did not get a very good look at it. I knew that it was not an osprey but I thought that maybe it was a male northern harrier, which are light gray with black wingtips and white underside to their wings. So I slowly moved down the road, angling the car so that I could shoot out of the open passenger window. This time I recognized that the bird was indeed a white-tailed kite.
Texas White-tailed Kite
This is not the first time that I have photographed white-tailed kites, I have photographed them in California and Texas, but I had never heard of anyone spotting any in Minnesota or Wisconsin. This last photo was taken in Texas in 2010 and I included it so that you can see the field marking for these birds. When I got home I checked with the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and found that there are only three records of white-tailed kites spotted in Wisconsin. The last record was back in September of 1989. So even though a few have been spotted over the years it has been over 20 years since anyone has reported one.


10 comments:

Kate said...

A lucky day for you!

Bob B said...

Wow!! Great find, Jeff!

TexWisGirl said...

just beautiful! have never seen a kite in person (either in Wis or Tx).

TexWisGirl said...

p.s. i hope you reported your sighting!

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

A great find then - well spotted!

Beautiful bird

Pat said...

What a beautiful bird! GReat captures.

Sallie (fullTime-Life) said...

Great sightings -- it is amazing that you spotted these rare (for where you saw them) birds! -- the flight shots are marvelous, but I love the one where you can see his eyes, just staring at you!

Crafty Gardener said...

great captures of the white tailed kite

DeniseinVA said...

Must have been very exciting to see this beautiful bird and to get such amazing shots. I have never seen a White-tailed Kite before, thanks for sharing it.

Penelopedia said...

Great spot! I've seen just one in California -- beautiful birds.