Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Swallow tail kites

Swallow tail kites are not a common bird in the Tampa bay area. I've only seen them once before flying high over my neighborhood. They aren't hard to spot when you see them. That forked tail and white underneath is pretty distinct. I had been reading for 2 weeks on the Bird Brains Florida forum that a large flock of them had been spotted about an hour north of Tampa. Flying over cow pastures. I finally got up early on a Saturday morning and headed up to Hernando county. I got off the main highway and headed down some dirt roads. After spotting the kestrels and loggerhead shrikes I was thinking the day would not be  lost if I didn't see any. I got to the end of the road that they were suppose to be on and found them. Flying around a cow pasture far away. All of the above pictures were taken from far away and highly cropped. Except for the last one. One kite flew close to the road. The kites were flying around the cow pastures and swooping up grasshoppers to eat. They were eating them as they were flying around. It was hard to catch them heading to the ground to catch one. They were really fast. It was amazing to watch them soaring high up in the sky. It would be nice if some headed back down to Tampa to visit.


  1. oh, then we need kites here in texas to eat up all these grasshoppers! they're beautiful!

  2. Wonderful photos! I have never seen this bird before, it is beautiful!

  3. I can see there'd be no mistaking that swallow tail, wow! And they eat grasshoppers. That's wonderful.
    Before I moved to Alberta, I left the wet west coast of British Columbia and moved to a desert-dry area in the BC interior. My cat Herman had never seen grasshoppers before, and he tried to catch them. I wish I had a picture of him: my big cat hopping across the yard after the grasshoppers!
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  4. You captured my favorite bird ... and you captured it perched!

    For a long time I was half convinced that STK's never landed.

    I see them often here, they cruise overhead at PFHQ on a regular basis, but only once have I seen one alight.

    Beautiful pics!

  5. Like FC, they are my favorite bird.
    That last pic is a juvenile that still has remnants of the brown on its breast.
    Did you find the MiKis in that area too?


  6. A beautiful bird! Marvelous flight shots!

  7. Awesome pictures!I don`t believe I ever saw one,thanks for sharing,phyllis

  8. I just seen one of these birds in south central Pennsylvania today never seen one before so I came home and searched them on the net it was close enough I could tell this is the bird I seen