Friday, April 17, 2009

SkyWatch: Hawks and Kites

I've had a couple of really nice raptor encounters this week over at the neighborhood park where I often spend my lunch break. The first happened on Monday, when I sat and watched several Red-tailed Hawks wheeling lazily around the sky and in and out of the treetops. The skies were blue and cloudless, and the day seemed perfect as these noble birds celebrated the warmth and beauty of spring.

Red-tailed Hawk - 4/13/2009
(Click any image to enlarge)

Yesterday, I returned to the park just as the storm clouds began moving in for the weekend. After a half hour of watching egrets and herons wading about in the pond and swallows performing their aerial acrobatics all around me, I happened to notice a small group of large birds flying high above.

I pushed my zoom lens to its maximum length and grabbed a few quick shots as they passed straight above me. Even though the picture quality is pretty dismal due to the distance and the bright glare of the overcast sky, I had to share these shots of the newest addition to my life list:

Mississippi Kite - 4/16/2009

Mississippi Kites - 4/16/2009
Mississippi Kites (Ictinia mississippiensis)
nearing the end of their spring migratory flight from South America

You just never know what wonders you might find waiting for you in these vast, rich Texas skies!

For more intriguing images of the skies above our world, check out the SkyWatch Friday home page.

SkyWatch Friday


Mary said...

Kyle, getting hawks in flight takes skill and talent. I have not been able to master that yet... Your photos are wonderful. I scrolled down and gasped at that yellow crowned night-heron. Fantastic!


Ilan said...

Excellent photo. Really nicely done
Thank you for sharing, great photoblog :)

Paul M said...

It is definitely hard to get a hawk in focus while flying (especially if they are flapping about). Good job!

I also liked the kingfisher article.

*I donated to Cornell Ornithology!*

Kelly said...

...great catches! The pair of kites flying together is very cool.

Vickie said...

How awesome is that?! Two of them! Love the red-tail image too.