White-tailed kite encounter

May 8, 2021

I was in Costa Mesa, CA at a location known for it’s White-Tailed Kite activity. Most of the birds were too far away for any decent shots and I was pretty discouraged thinking I was going to come away with nothing after the drive down from Los Angeles.

There were four other photographers with me and they decided to leave as it was getting late. I figured I’d hang around a little while longer hoping with fewer people around the Kites might come closer. As the sun was setting I realized that I hadn’t really been paying attention to where I was during the mile or so hike in as we were talking almost the whole time. So just before the sun hit the trees at my back I reluctantly decided I needed to get off the trail before sundown. Walking along the trail I spotted a flash of white and saw a bird land in a tree just to my right. When I peeked in I realized it was a Kite but I could barely see it through the dense brush. I doubled back down the trail, slowly making my way around the tree, and then knelt down in the best position I could in an attempt to get some clean shots while also not spooking the bird. Unfortunately there’s a lot of clutter in these images but sometimes you just have to take what you can get. The adult made the initial catch and then the chick came in and grabbed the rat from the parent.

I managed to get back to the parking lot just as the sun was setting and grabbed this quick shot

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