Others and I started looking for kites on May 2, and when I hadn’t seen any through yesterday, I concluded they wouldn’t be here this year. Their latest arrival in previous years had been May 12. But I was wrong, thankfully. John Longhenry spotted 2 males yesterday afternoon, one at Bloom School, and one in the large dead tree visible from the corner of Buckingham Drive and Pleasant View Court, about 3 blocks north of the school.
This morning, I watched a male fly briefly around the school parking lot and then sit for 20 minutes preening at the top of a tree on the corner of Grenham Pl and Barrington Pl, across from the school lot entrance. Then it flew low to the north along Grenham.
15 minutes later, a male flew into the school lot from the east, circled the trees by the memorial bench, and then rose higher and higher and higher into the sky. As I once infamously said about a Hawfinch on Attu, “the last time I saw it it was out of sight”. Incredible.
Perhaps the birds arrived earlier than yesterday–with such behavior, a kite is tough to find.
A little history:
Kites were first noted near Bloom School in the summer of 2008, and it seemed numbers were slowly increasing each year after. On some days 5 or possibly 6 individual birds were distinguished. It appears the peak numbers were in 2010. Judging from counts of individuals and kite perching behavior, I think they might have nested in 4 different Bloom School area locations that year. Also, on August 30, 2010, a migrating flock of 9 birds (probably including a subadult from the Bloom neighborhood) was seen just before a rainstorm arrived.
At least one successful nest was found every year; 3 young were known to have fledged in 2010, and 2 fledglings were documented last year by John Longhenry. No nest with 2 young, the typical number, has yet been found. Perhaps this year.