Trailside raptor – Mississippi Kite in the TRV

[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2015] – I rushed down to the Tijuana River Valley in the morning today, 04 April 2015, to see a Mississippi Kite Ictinia mississippiensis found by Guy McCaskie about 8:15 a.m. at the main Dairy Mart Pond. I was in far Point Loma at the time but hit the road fast making it there in record time in the Subaru. Lucky for me the kite sat tight in the dead tree snag as the temperatures began to rise. I figured it would lift off around 9:30 a.m., in search of flying insects, so that gave me some leeway. Lucky for me it remained in the tree snag, and even better it was right beside the main trail! I managed to capture a few images before it moved to a more distant tree. Here it continued preening and stretching, both wings and tail, allowing some nice photos. Sure enough it suddenly took off right around 9:30 a.m. and headed off low in rapid flight to the northwest where we lost sight of it behind the willow trees.

This appears to be a second calendar year (SY) bird retaining juvenile body feathers mottled with generous rufous or white blotches. Some of the visible rectrices appear freshly replaced and glossy looking, quite darkly colored with nice looking squared off truncate ends and bright white banding on the inner webs.

UPDATE: The Mississippi Kite did stick around, at least for a couple more days, being seen early and late in the day at some favorite tree snags near to the main Dairy Mart Pond.

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

Mississippi Kite – Tijuana River Valley, San Diego County, California 04 April 2015

4 thoughts on “Trailside raptor – Mississippi Kite in the TRV

  1. Boy those poses are the best for diagnostics I’ve ever seen. It would be a lifer for me but I dont think it would be there after the time it would take for me to get there. Congrats on the superb pix.

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