Better late than never: Lake Apopka and Belleview Kites

Things have been a little hectic at Lonely Birder Central, but I hope to be back on track soon. After a lovely sojourn to Lake Apopka and then Belleview two weeks ago, I travelled to Lakeland, Florida for the first time to see the various swans that have been a part of the city for years. Stay tuned, and I’ll have something up as soon as I can.

Meanwhile, here are a few photos and comments from last weekend. First, from the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive.

red-shouldered-hawk
Immature Red-shouldered Hawk
purple-martin
Young Purple Martin
osprey
Osprey, panting due to the heat
little-blue-heron
An immature Little Blue Heron, just starting to get adult plumage
least-bittern
Least Bittern

There was also a large congregation of Mississippi Kites in Belleview (near Ocala). There’s been a mild infestation of large grasshoppers in parts of central Florida, and the kites have been taking great advantage of it. Here are just a few photos, one showing the lone Swallow-tailed Kite (which usually predominates in central Florida).

mississippi-kite-01
One of several dozen Mississippi Kites that descended upon a residential subdivision. This one is carrying a grasshopper in its right talons.
mississippi-kite-02
Two Mississippi Kites scanning the ground below for grasshopper targets.
swallow-tailed-kite
It’s hard to make out, but this Swallow-tailed Kite is holding a large grasshopper in its left talon.

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