White-tailed Kite and White-tailed Hawk 2016-11-27

On my drive back from Port Aransas to Austin this morning, about 4 miles north of Goliad on Highway 183 I spotted a White-tailed Kite perched on a wire on the east side of the road. I don't get to see this striking south Texas bird very often so after I'd passed it I pulled over and turned around, hoping for another look and some photos.

The bird was still there when I returned. I got a few photos from the other side of the road and then drove a little further south, turned around again, and approached it with the sun behind me. I stopped and got out of the car, going behind the car to keep it between me and the bird, and took a few more photos. I decided to try approaching the bird closer on foot, but as soon as I got away from the car the bird took flight. It circled around over me and I took some in-flight photos.

As I was watching the flying kite, I saw that another bird was approaching from the northwest. It turned out to be another south Texas specialty, a White-tailed Hawk! I took some in-flight photos of the hawk and then, almost right over my head, the kite attacked it! Both birds were vocalizing and I got a few more in-flight photos of the kite making a pass at the hawk, and then escorting it off to the southwest.

Here's my complete photo sequence on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikael_behrens/albums/72157673144967944

Here's my favorite:
White-tailed Kite and White Tailed Hawk in flight - 3

I kept more photos of the flying White-tailed Hawk than I normally would have because you can see its head turning as it sees the approach of the kite.

Interestingly, this was 10-15 miles south of where I observed a White-tailed Kite on the same drive back in February 2015: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1254570

Posted by mikaelb mikaelb, November 27, 2016 22:08

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

November 27, 2016 08:59 AM CST

Description

About 4 miles north of Goliad on Highway 183 I spotted a White-tailed Kite on a wire on the east side of the road. I stopped to photograph it, and when I tried to approach it on foot it started flying. As it flew, another bird approached from the west that turned out to be a White-tailed Hawk. Almost right over my head, the kite attacked the hawk and escorted it off to the southwest.

See the attached journal entry for additional photos of both birds interacting:
https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/mikaelb/7942-white-tailed-kite-and-white-tailed-hawk-2016-11-27

Photos / Sounds

What

White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus

Observer

mikaelb

Date

November 27, 2016 08:56 AM CST

Description

About 4 miles north of Goliad on Highway 183 I spotted a White-tailed Kite on a wire on the east side of the road. I stopped to photograph it, and when I tried to approach it on foot it started flying. As it flew, another bird approached from the west that turned out to be a White-tailed Hawk. Almost right over my head, the kite attacked the hawk and escorted it off to the southwest.

See the attached journal entry for additional photos of both birds interacting:
https://www.inaturalist.org/journal/mikaelb/7942-white-tailed-kite-and-white-tailed-hawk-2016-11-27

Comments

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Super shots, Mikael, and great interaction between these two wonderful birds! I'm envious of your experience with them!

Posted by greglasley over 4 years ago (Flag)
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Thanks Greg, I'm so glad I decided to turn around when I saw the kite!

Posted by mikaelb over 4 years ago (Flag)
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Great observation!

Posted by billdodd over 4 years ago (Flag)
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Wow wow wow! Great capture!

Posted by sambiology over 4 years ago (Flag)

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