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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kite flying

In Febuary, I mentioned that I struggle with getting good pictures of kites.  Because there have been a few on Bodega Head this fall, I've made several more attempts during the past couple of months.  I still haven't come up with a photograph that I'm happy with, but thought I'd share a few more, just because kites are irresistible and I love watching them fly.

Below is an adult White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus) perched on a Douglas-fir.

In the photo above, note the all white breast of the adult.  In contrast, juveniles often have a tawny or rust-colored "necklace" across the breast (see below).

When hunting, kites hover in place, searching the ground below for small mammals (next image).

Once committed to a dive, they hold their wings at a very steep angle and almost seem to flutter towards the ground.  It's very different from the high speed stoop of a falcon.  The vertical drop of a White-tailed Kite somehow has a very graceful and delicate quality (although I don't think you'd feel the same way if you were the prey!).

Click here to review the earlier post about White-tailed Kites.

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