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Re: White-tailed Kite-Alligator River NWR

I was at alligator river on sunday around 4:00 with a
group of people looking at a bird on the ground that
some were speculating might be a (the?) white-tailed
kite. It was at least a mile away on the ground facing
us. From the front it was all white and when it turned
its head, darker patches could be seen on the
shoulders. When it finally took off it was found to be
a male harrier. I'm not sure if this was the bird
reported as a white-tailed kite or not, it was about
the same time period and area though.
Bruce Young
durham, nc

--- Harry LeGrand <Harry.LeGrand@ncmail.net> wrote:
> Based on all of the input I have received from
> others about the reported
> White-tailed Kite, including sightings of the
> Rough-legged Hawk in the same
> general area the day before and the day after the
> sighting, it appears
> likely that the kite was actually the Rough-legged
> Hawk. Although both
> species hover, the White-tailed Kite is a very
> ghostly white bird in flight,
> with a slow, graceful, rowing flight. It reminds me
> of a large gull at
> first, and then maybe an adult male Northern
> Harrier. I have never thought
> "buteo" when I have seen one -- I've seen 30+ --
> perhaps because the kite is
> such a thin, streamlined bird (like a harrier).
> If that is the case, could a buteo be misidentied as
> a kite, and vice versa?
> If the bird is at a distance, I suppose it could, as
> Rough-legs hover, and
> as the Rough-leg at Alligator River is quite pale.
> (Red-tailed Hawks hover
> into the wind, on windy days; Rough-legs hover
> anytime.) In fact, the flight
> mannerisms of a Rough-legged Hawk might be closer to
> a White-tailed Kite
> (flying slowly over large open areas, then hovering
> constantly) than for any
> other hawk that I can recall. However, the buteo
> tends to fly and hover
> lower (often 20 feet or less off the ground) than
> does the kite, which often
> hovers 50 feet off the ground. (Kites don't normally
> fly within about 20
> feet of the ground; they are usually higher up,
> except to plunge to the
> ground when spotting a prey item.)
> Folks going to Alligator River NWR will still want
> to carefully look at all
> of the raptors there -- for buteos, eagles,
> whatever. Large, open, weedy
> fields, with wet ponded areas (that contain ducks
> and a few shorebirds) are
> the best places to turn up unusual raptors. Maybe
> NC's first Ferruginous
> Hawk will turn up there some day.
> Harry LeGrand
> Shaawitya@aol.com wrote:
> > I looked for the White-tailed Kite on 1/15/00
> around 4-5pm and did not
> > relocate the kite.  Jeff Lewis was there also and
> had not seen the kite.
> >
> > We did relocate the Rough-legged Hawk.
> >
> > Keith Watson
> > shaawitya@aol.com
> > Kill Devil Hills
> --
> Harry E. LeGrand, Jr.
> N.C. Natural Heritage Program
> Division of Parks and Recreation
> 1615 MSC
> Raleigh, NC 27699-1615
> Office: (919) 715-8687
> Home: (919) 832-3202
> FAX: (919) 715-3085
> e-mail: harry.legrand@ncmail.net
> http://ils.unc.edu/parkproject/nhp/index.html
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