|Mississippi Kite, corner of Walker & Elizabeth, Waretown, NJ|
When we arrived there were a couple of birders we knew there, one of them our friend Ken. The bird had made an appearance earlier in the day, but neither one was there then. Shari & I hung around for 15 minutes, but it was hot (which is why we went to the beach in the first place) and Shari, in her bathing suit, was hardly dressed for birding. I was hoping that the bird would've been already perched in the tree and it would be a quick hit. As we were leaving, Ken checked his phone to make sure he had my number so he could text me should the bird arrive. Yesterday, the bird came to the tree as I walked in the door, but I didn't turn around and rush down for it. I didn't think we would this time, but...
Waretown is Exit 69 on the Parkway. Heading north, we were just about a mile away from Exit 77 (Forked River) when the text came in from Ken: Kite overhead! I knew Shari was tired, so I told her it was up to her, but already she was heading for the exit ramp. I texted Ken back: Landing? Answer: No.
I thought there was a fair chance the bird would finally come into its perch and we had only gone a couple of miles when another text came in: Kite pruning in the tree.
Another text: Preening. I replied that we were on the way.
Then each time my phone buzzed we were afraid that the bird had flown, but no, Ken kept up a steady feed of Still in tree.
The last text came in after we were off the Parkway. I figured we were 5 minutes away. As we turned onto the side streets to get to the site, no text came in saying the bird was gone, so I was pretty confident we'd see it. When I saw Ken on the corner, talking to one of the neighborhood residents and pointing up, I knew we were good.
I had to angle around a little bit to get the sun at my back to get decent photographs and by doing that moved in front of a gate which set one of the local dogs barking, which bothered me and I was afraid would bother the neighbors, but it didn't bother the bird.
It is a beautiful bird, pearly gray with a black mask. It's only a couple of inches bigger than a Mourning Dove and I bet if I was just passing by that tree without knowing about the bird, I might just blow it off as that. New Jersey is an unlikely place for Mississippi Kite and this little corner of Waretown is as unlikely a spot in New Jersey as one could imagine but, as Myron Cohen used to say:
Everybody's gotta be someplace.
And by the way: Many, many thanks, Ken.