Go fly a kite

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After driving around some cow pastures, I saw this up ahead. I pulled over and took the above. It looked liked was raining swallow-tail kites.

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I drove a little farther and found a large group of people standing on the side of the road, next to a watermelon field. They were all watching the swallow-tail kites flying around catching the dragonflies in mid-air and eating them while they were flying.

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I took all of the above while standing on the side of the road. Some were flying over a melon field and some were flying over the cow pasture next door. I’m sure all of the farmers driving by thought we were all crazy. Standing there taking pictures of birds flying that they see each summer. The kites all stop over in central Florida on their way south for the winter. They fill up on dragonflies and other bugs hanging around the fields. I don’t see these kites often. Only a handful in the Tampa Bay area in the past several years. Once word gets out on the bird forums of the kites eating their summer meals, people come from all across Florida to watch the hundreds of kites.  In a few of the pictures, you can just barely see the kites holding a bug and trying to eat it while flying. I struggled to get decent pictures. The kites were flying so fast, zooming across the fields.

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Not a good picture but there were a few Mississippi kites flying around but they stayed pretty far away from the roads. They look smaller than the swallow-tail kites and are almost all gray so they were fairly easy to spot. My husband calls them the ghost birds.

 Skywatch Friday

Flying kites high in the sky

Swallow tail kite.

Swallow tail kite. It looks like he was about to grab something.

Two swallow tail kites.

Mississippi kite flying right over my head.

Mississippi kite.

I had heard the kites were back flying over the cow pastures up in Hernando county. The area is about an hour north of Tampa. Last year in July I made it up there but only saw the swallow tail kites from very far away. This year I got up there around 8am. There were a few other cars driving along the dirt roads looking for the kites. I saw the swallow tail kites pretty early. It wasn’t until 11am that I saw my first ever mississippi kite. There were several of us standing on the side of the dirt road taking pictures of the red headed woodpeckers when what looked like a ghost bird flew right over our heads. It’s a pretty rare bird here so everyone was excited to see it come close enough to the road to get pictures. But in reality, it’s not that cool of a bird. It’s kind of boring. My hubby said later “You drove all of the way up there for that?” I replied “Well yes, it catches and eats dragonflies in mid-flight.” Of course, I didn’t get a shot of that. Maybe next year. Besides the kites, there were other birds I don’t get to see too often so more to come on the dirt road trip.

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