With an unmistakable silhouette, the Swallow-tailed Kite is an amazingly skilled flyer. From Cornell’s All About Birds: “Rarely flapping their wings, they soar and make tight turns, rotating their tail to steer.”
These images are cropped quite a bit; I didn’t get any close ups, but if you enlarge the photos you can get a bit more detail.
Guaranteed to make your neck hurt they are very cool to watch.
While doing all this acrobatic flying they grab flying insects with their feet:
Then pass the prey to their beak:
On this day an approaching storm and boisterous clouds added to the drama of the scene.
Their territory and numbers have dwindled in the US, and are continuously threatened by habitat loss.
I’ve commented before on birds’ desire to occupy the highest point. This applies even if it is just a clump of sticks in the pond. We’ve had a lot of wind lately and small branches and other debris is getting pushed around in the ponds. This Great Egret found an attractive twig collection to drop in on.
Then it started to sink and he took off, straight up into the air.
One flap of the wings and he was off.
Banking smoothly left he decided to try another spot.
There is not much contrast in these images of a pair of Bonaparte’s Gulls feeding in the ocean surf. The day was dull and the birds coloration mostly matches the water, with only their black wing-tips and orange feet standing out.
However, they were fun to watch and gulls are great practice for in-flight bird photography due to their relatively slow speed and predictability.
It was also windy and this pair was expending a tremendous amount of energy for what was small food. Whatever they were catching they quickly swallowed without me seeing it.
They dropped in and lifted out of the water with ease and flew in tandem as they moved up the beach.