Lots of Swallow-tailed Kites

Swallow-tailed Kites

We went to Fisheating Creek in Florida in hopes of seeing the Swallow-tailed Kites. About half the eastern population of Kites congregate in the area for a couple days near the end of July in preparation for their flight to South America.

We didn’t see a single Kite on our drive down. When we got to the Fisheating Creek campground, I asked the girl who checked us in about the Kites. She didn’t know what I was talking about. An irony is the campground has a swallow tail in their logo! Looked like we were on our own to find them.

The Fisheating Creek area is primarily within a Wildlife Management Area that is not very accessible (which is a good thing!). In the morning, we tried kayaking toward the upper creek and didn’t see any Kites. The scenery was beautiful with all the Cypress Trees and knees. In the afternoon, we drove around the area on some of the few roads available and did not see any Kites.

I thought we missed them. On our last full day (July 24), we planned to drive to Lake Okeechobee and see if we could get some views of the lake. We found that’s hard to do since it is almost completely surrounded by a dike and few public roads will get you over the dike.

Not far from the campground, on our way to the Lake, we both spotted a few Swallow-tailed Kites soaring above the highway. We pull into a turn around in the median strip and saw a lot more Swallow-tailed Kites heading our way. We stayed for probably half hour in the median strip and saw hundreds and hundreds of them pass by over head. Yes, literally hundreds, like 500, 600 700! lots! Talk about a gift of the day! It could have been a boring a highway drive and we could have easily driven right by the spot. You really need to be open about your surroundings and not mindlessly go from point A to point B.

In our travels we have seen many things, if we had not been open to stoping and investigating, we would not have ever known of their existance.

Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus)
Swallow-tailed Kite by Regis
Lots of Swallow-tailed Kites.

The moon was overhead. Several times I got a view of a Kite with the moon in the background. So cool!

Swallow-tailed Kite with moon in the background

As if that wasn’t enough good stuff for the day, we saw a Crested Caracara during our exploration of the area after we left the Kites.

Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway).

The mornings are clear and you can literally watch the clouds form during the day. There were horrendous downpours every afternoon. I took 267 pictures, one every 10 seconds. Regis put them together into a video.

On the last morning there we went at the same time at the same spot where we saw the Kites and saw only about 50 Kites. Clearly, the big day was the day before. We don’t know if they were there the 23rd since we were in the wrong area to see them! Truly, when we saw them was a gift, and we took the time to stop and check them out. We stopped for a quick look and witnessed an amasizing sight.

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura). There were lots of vultures in the area.
A White-tailed Deer running away. It saw us before we saw it.
Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) by Regis

The black and white paperback version of our first book (The Gifts of the Day: Traveling and Camping With Dogs) is now available here. The premium version is available here.

2 Comments on “Lots of Swallow-tailed Kites

  1. Thanks for sharing these amazing birds. I think they are one of my favorite. They are beautiful.

    Like

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