Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mississippi Kites in Newmarket, NH (cont'd)

A combination of factors led me once again to NH yesterday afternoon to check out the Mississippi Kites that have been reported for the last several days. When I last posted, we had driven up to NH to see the birds the day they had been reported. (They were actually reported a few weeks earlier, but were confirmed and seen by many on Saturday.)
Since that time, people have been checking in on the Kites almost constantly. They have seen the male bringing sticks to the female, copulation, then a female was found on a nest while TWO other birds were seen flying. So there are THREE MISSISSIPPI KITES in New Hampshire. Just in case you missed that, let me sum it up - there is a female Mississippi Kite on a nest, a Male that has been seen copulating with her, then a third kite, which appears to be a young female, that the male is also courting and seems to be copulating with. All this is happening for the first (documented) time north of the Carolinas Virginia. (I've not researched this well, so if you know of a documented nest further north, please let me know) Amazing!!! (Oh yeah, there is also a ton of photo documentation of all of this.)
So, for the last several days, I've been wanting to go back, since when we were there on Saturday, nobody had discovered where they were regularly perching (much less nesting) so all we saw were the birds in flight. I wanted to get much better looks, (and maybe a few pics of my own) but I'd been feeling pretty wiped out for the last few days. (Tired, achy, headaches, etc - I keep checking but haven't noticed any ticks on me in the last week, no odd rashes or anything, so I think I'm just trying to outrun a cold.) Yesterday, I had all my work done early, and headed home to try and get some rest. Pam had the day off but had an appointment in the afternoon. When she got in, we decided that since the weather was so much nicer than predicted, that we'd give another shot at the kites, and up we went.
The immature female sat out in the open for very easy looks (and obviously some digiscoped shots) while the second female stayed on the nest. Eventually the male flew in, and attempted a few 'passes' at the younger bird, then perched nicely for us while dark storm clouds rolled in behind us.
Not the best photos, but the looks - both perched and in flight - were fantastic.
Definintely worth the trip!!!