Friday, August 15, 2008

Swallow-tailed kites for Friday Skywatch

My whole post is a Skywatch today. Click on the swallow-tailed hawk at the right to see other Friday Skywatch pictures.
Last Tuesday we went to a newly opened Audubon property called Silver Bluff. It's near Aiken, SC, where our middle son lives. He met us there and we had a nice hike. Not a lot to take pictures of but the day wasn't over. On the way home we went to some fields near Allendale, SC, where someone had reported seeing a lot of swallow-tailed kites. There is concern about their declining numbers.
Here are some of the waaaay too many pictures I took in a light rain. The kites swoop around very fast, not flapping their wings very much, catching insects with their feet and putting them into their beaks while flying. They literally eat on the fly. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but they are a little larger than a red-tailed hawk, but more streamlined.

This shows the kite from the top--not a view one often sees. It just happened to bank sharply as it swooped by.

This shows their striking color better than the shots against the gray sky.

Here you can see it putting an insect into it's beak. Dragonflies and June bugs are among their favorites. Click this larger to see better detail of this neat trick.


  1. Oh my. I wish we had these around here. You did a masterful job in capturing them. Brilliant photography.


  2. Beautiful bird, Bruce! The pictures are great! That is amazing about catching the insects with their feet while they fly.

  3. Wow, that is soooo cool Bruce! I didn't realize that they are so large. I imagine that was a sight to see indeed!

  4. I don't think I've been here before and I love to see another nature blog. And I love birds....Michelle

  5. What a gorgeous bird that is! (and the blue sky was pretty too!)

    Thanks for sharing with SkyWatch Friday. Have a great weekend!

    --Lynellen, #316 this week's SkyWatch
    Shop with me your Mary Kay Beauty Consultant

  6. Great shots - love those Swallowtail Kites! They are extremely elegant!

    Cheers, Klaus

  7. Thanks all for the nice comments. I've checked out all your blogs too--good stuff!

  8. Great photos! The birds are so lucky, they have the sky to soar through all day and evening!

  9. Terrific bird captures! Love the first one especially.


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