Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Waretown 6/8--Mississippi Kite

Mississippi Kite
Last year's (presumably) Mississippi Kites have returned to Waretown, an unlikely spot for this Jersey rarity. This is good news if you're a birder; not such good news if you're a homeowner in the quiet, residential neighborhood the kites have taken to and do not appreciate birders standing (or worse: parking!) on your lawn. They were discovered about a week ago, but the word was quickly put out that the people who live across the street from the dead tree the kites perch in were not happy about going through another birder frenzy like last year's. So, the local birders seem to be spacing out their visits and listing the bird either late or in a general location. This is for the birds' safety--rumor has it the people across the street threatened to use air horns to scare the birds away (I'm sure their neighbors would appreciate that) or else cut down the tree (not certain it's theirs to cut).

I'm sympathetic to the homeowners; the more people who come for the bird, the more likely boorish behavior will occur. And even if everyone is on their best behavior, who needs 20 strangers standing around your driveway? I dread the day a true rarity shows up at our house; I'm sure our neighbors, who watch with tolerating amusement when I run outside with my binoculars to look at a Merlin in the dead tree or nighthawks flying around over our street, would not be happy with a procession of cars trying to find a rare bird.

Eastern Bluebird
So today, after a few hours at Great Bay Blvd, I drove up Rt 9 to Waretown, parking about 1/10 of a mile away and walked over to the tree's intersection. No kites. I didn't want to stand around waiting for them, so I took a little walk, figuring I wait no more than 20 minutes for an appearance. In the meantime, I saw a good looking Eastern Bluebird sitting on a post in the front yard of the birder who originally noticed the kites last year. Had a birder not lived nearby, these birds would probably go unrecorded, which raises the question of many rarities are not seen.

I was thinking about walking back toward the tree when I saw another birder walking up the street toward me. He had just arrived and when I told him where the birds were likely to appear he said, "You mean the tree right where I parked?"

I told him that probably wasn't the best place to park, right across the street from ornery folks and as he went to move his car I looked up in the tree and there the bird was. The sky had turned gray and threatening, so I took a couple of quick pictures before the bird flew off, only to perch in another tree just where I was standing when I saw the bluebird. I took another couple of shots as the rain started and left. My Bird A Day choice made easy.

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