Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Swallow-tailed Kite

I had some nice ideas lined up for a blog post today, but it doesn't pay to plan too far ahead when you live at Cape May as the birds can change as quickly as the weather. After our Wednesday morning walk at the point (which produced a really nice set of up-close birds) our post-walk breakfast was interrupted by news of a Swallow-tailed Kite somewhere over The Beanery, seemingly heading West. After a second report of it from the fields between Sunset Boulevard and Seagrove Avenue, we decided to give it a look, not least because it would be a life bird for two of our party.

A lucky glance as we passed the fields along Sunset Boulevard, revealed the bird heading away southward over the trees. We hurried on down to the point and there was our bird, hunting insects over the wood on the north side of Lighthouse Pond. And here it is...

Now normally, I would be over the moon to get such shots of a Swallow-tailed Kite in Cape May. The views were fabulous in good light and, with a bit of careful photoshop work I could crop the photo and bring the bird in closer - very nice. But just occasionally life does deal you one of those nice cards - the queen of hearts I reckon.

My fellow associate naturalists all had other places to be and - happy with our great views and unable to re-find the bird once it drifted off west, we all went our separate ways. An hour later, I had to head off for a 1PM meeting and I too was then heading out of the area. But I made the error of glancing back across the fields along Sunset Boulevard - and there was this wonderfully rakish silhouette, drifting away over the trees. Meeting or no meeting, I had to have one last look, so I whipped round into Seagrove Avenue and there was our kite, hanging in the wind over the farm field there.

It's hard to describe just how spectacular an experience it is to have a Swallow-tailed Kite flying within 20 yards of you, swooping so low that its wing tips are brushing the grass blades then, with a twist of its tail, looping straight up and wheeling back round for another pass. This was one of life's great moments - a Cape May moment no less. So here are some of the results - make sure you are here for the next one!


All photos copyright, Mike Crewe
Footnote: I was late for my 1PM meeting!!!!