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FLORIDABIRDS-L  May 2007, Week 5

FLORIDABIRDS-L May 2007, Week 5

Subject:

Kites & Shrikes, etc.

From:

David Hartgrove <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David Hartgrove <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 30 May 2007 21:10:40 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (45 lines)

Hi All,
   I spent a portion of the late afternoon today sitting at the end of
the walkway on the north side of the Ponce Inlet jetty with Dotty
Robins and Michael Brothers. We were looking for some of those pelagics
that have been frequenting that spot due to the strong east winds.
Today those winds had backed off a bit and while I was there all we saw
were some terns far out and a few close in (mostly Common and at least
one Arctic) and a few remaining Northern Gannets. Before I got there
Dotty and Michael had seen Leach's Storm Petrels. We gave up around
6:30 and headed our separate ways.

   I stopped for gas at a very busy intersection near my home and while
waiting for the pump to drain a part of my wallet I saw an American
Swallow-tailed Kite leisurely float across the intersection not 20 feet
off the ground. A line of young Laurel Oaks has been planted along the
sidewalk next to the new CVS Pharmacy that sprouted on that corner 3
years ago. Well back then it was an Eckerd's, but I digress. Apparently
there are both Northern Mockingbirds and Loggerhead Shrikes nesting
nearby. Within moments birds of both species were dive bombing the kite
repeatedly. He shrugged them off while lazily cruising the tops of
these short trees. Meanwhile the folks in the line of traffic next to
this little natural drama fiddled with radio dials, talked on cell
phones and slapped at the kids in the back seat. None seemed to take
any notice of this life and death struggle playing out 15 feet away.
The kite finally dropped down into the top of an oak about 12 feet tall
and emerged with something in its talons. The posts in the gas station
blocked my view so that, even with the binoculars, I missed seeing what
the bird had seized, either an egg or a nestling. Both the shrike and
the mocking bird continued to harass the kite for a short distance as
it disappeared off to the northeast. Its wing beats were now stronger
and more purposeful and the smaller birds fell behind.

   So, though I missed the Leach's Storm Petrel, I finished the day with
a good sighting anyway. You just never know what you're going to see.

David Hartgrove
Daytona Beach, FL

____________________________________________________________________________
FLORIDABIRDS-L Listserv mailing list information:
Member photos I: http://bkpass.tripod.com/floridabirds.htm
Member photos II: see connection on photos I
For archives: http://lists.ufl.edu/archives/floridabirds-l.html
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