Just yesterday, 3 July, I headed north out of the city by bus, met up with more birders in New Paltz, and continued all the way up to the town of Root in Montgomery County, New York, all in order to see my first-ever Mississippi Kite (Ictinia mississippiensis).  Present at the location, at the intersection of Mapletown Road and Donato Road, are at least two of the kites, identified by better birders than I as an adult and a subadult (at least one bird has been present since at least the beginning of June but it took time for word to get out and for folks to follow up).  A horde of birders descended Friday and the kites cooperated with occasional aerial acrobatics.  I’ll write a more complete description of the trip upstate soon but I wanted to get these pictures up now.  Enjoy!

Update: From an email from Tom Burke, a member of the New York State Avian Records Committee and one of the “better birders than I” who was also up there on Friday:

Nice photos; I assume they were taken at different times, as you seem to have photographed both birds.  Note on the (paler) top bird that there is a notch (presumed missing or not fully grown flight feather) in its left wing between the outer secondaries and the primaries. This gap is not on the younger bird’s wing (bottom photo), and your shot does show the banding at the base of the tail and the more mottled underwing.

Thanks for the information Tom.  I thought I had shots of both birds and was hoping for confirmation.  I must say that I thought that the notch that folks were talking about in the adult’s wing was going to be bigger!  And, by the way, I promise a NYSARC report on this bird!

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.