Archive for July, 2011

Mississippi Kites

Monday, July 4th, 2011

On a perfect Fourth of July afternoon, hot and hazy, with blurry white and pale orange clouds in a bleached-out barely blue sky, a Mississippi Kite came into view just over the trees toward the south from our deck. A sliver of dark wings and fan-shaped tail, its long slender shape and graceful flight were distinctive. After a couple of minutes, it was joined by a second Mississippi Kite. Both sailed around in large circles several times, quite high toward the southeast, and drifted away in that direction after maybe about five minutes in all.

This is only the second time this year I’ve seen Mississippi Kites here. The first was on the Summer Solstice – then no more until today. Of course, they might have been around when I’m not out, because here in our neighborhood they’re only passing over, so it’s luck when I see them. But I haven’t seen other reports of Kites in this area yet this summer.

In the heat, not much else was stirring. Two Carolina Chickadees came to the hummingbird feeder, fussing noisily, to drink from the moat. A Red-bellied Woodpecker rattled in the woods. Grasshoppers sang, but only a few cicadas now and then. A dragonfly flew over. A Phoebe hunted very low around the back yard. A Summer Tanager sang from somewhere down the street. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird twittered as it came to the feeder briefly – then zipped over and hovered to check me out, then zoomed away. A Mourning Dove cooed.

Dark clouds began to gather in the southwest, and a distant rumble of thunder drifted closer. For a while it seemed the storm might pass to the south of us, but then the wind picked up, clouds covered the sun, and after a big crack of thunder, I gathered up my things and went inside, and watched as a good hard drenching rain fell for half an hour or more. We’ve been lucky enough to get several of these late-afternoon thundershowers, a saving grace in the long stretch of very hot weather.