On Friday July 3, I once again traveled to the town of Root in Montgomery County, New York to try and get a more satisfying look at the Mississippi Kites in the area. Unlike the last time I was there, there were many other birders there and I’m happy to report that thus far, everyone has been on their best behavior!
Among the many birders there were Rich Guthrie, Andy Guthrie, Corey Finger, Tom Burke, Shai Mitra, Andy Baldelli, Pat Lindsay, Alison Van Keuren, Sue Adair, John Hershey, Kevin McGowan and I’m sure others whom our paths did not directly cross.
I arrived around 9:30 and joined the mob on Mapletown Road as one bird foraged over the tree tops to the west of the road, when a good portion of the mob went down to Donato Road to try and get better looks, I went a bit further west on Lattimer Hill Road and waited and watched, but saw nothing, save a high flying Bald Eagle, Great-Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture and Red-tailed Hawk and common field edge birds, including one persistantly singing Savannah Sparrow, which kept me company most of the time there.
Soon however my phone was ringing with reports of good looks at the bird. Now I normally don’t like standing around in crowds waiting for a bird to appear, but after about 1pm or so I headed down to Donato Road, where I waitied with Shai Mitra and his crew, Alison Van Kueren and Sue Adair and Kevin McGowan and his nephew.
Around 2:30 or so, a Thunderstorm passed over chasing us from the watch. One group thought it a fine time to go get Ice Cream, but a majority of us waited for the rain to pass We were joined by a couple from the Syracuse area and as soon as the rain stopped, we got out of the cars and began searching the fields again. About 3:45, I happened to catch sight of a bird flying low across one of the fields. I got it into my binoculars, white head… I had the bird! “Here we go!” I shouted over to the group standing down the road from me, as the bird then quickly flew over our heads before heading into the woods where both birds have been frequently seen. Kevin McGowan was called in and joined in the vigil. About 10 minutes later, I spotted the bird again above the tree tops, the bird proceeded to fly into the field in front of us and sort of float around, allowing everyone to get excellent long looks that was a state bird for most of us and life bird for some!
Even after I left a 4pm, I recieved word that the bird was seen frequently that evening and was seen well on July 4th and 5th as well. As for any more nesting proof, I’ll save that for another post…