[TN-Bird] Washington Co. TN Swallow-tails still present

  • From: "Wallace Coffey" <jwcoffey@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Bristol-birds" <bristol-birds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "TN-birds" <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2007 11:55:48 -0400

The Swallow-tailed Kites continued hunting along the Nolichuchey River
Saturday morning at Enon Church in Washington Co., TN.  The location
is in the Lamar Community along TN Rt. 107, at 5.1 miles west of TN 
Rt 81.  Rt 81 can be accessed at Jonesborough, TN.
The kites have been present for about a week at this site and
 a resident, who discovered them, showed us a digital photo 
of the bird yesterday which he had recently taken.

According to Tom McNeil, who telephoned me today at 10:20 a.m.,
one of the birds was present as we spoke.  He reported that other birders
were present and that several had seen the kites about an hour earlier.

The habitat is very large commercial agriculture fields with trees along the 
river.  This is beautiful open and flat river bottom farm lands.  The kites
probably hunt extensively over these fields and have been seen feeding
with flocks of swallows.  They capture most of their prey on the
wing and do not often perch.   They fly to feed mostly low over the
vegetation (including trees) early in the morning and in late afternoon
when the insects are closer to the ground.  During mid-day they often
fly high in the sky. 

The Swallow-tailed Kite is a very rare raptor in Tennessee when it disperses
north in fall from its southern breeding areas in the southern US
costal states.  It is rare anytime during the fall in the interior.  They will 
eventually return to the south and migrate to South America where they 
winter in Brazil.

This is the first record in the five-county area of Northeast Tennessee;
there is at least one record in adjacent Greene Co. 

The Greene Co. bird was seen 12 Aug 2006 at Camp Creek Bald.  It was
observed by five local birders while they were participating in a butterfly 
The observers were Dianne Draper, Don Holt, Jim Holt, Larry and 
Jo Anne Routledge.  The kite was seen flying in both Greene County, TN and in 
Madison County, NC.

There is one other regional record of a bird which was in Buchanan County, Va.
10 May 2003.  The bird was seen at Bull Mountain and was reported
on Bristol Birds Net by David Raines of Breaks, Va.  The bird circled twice 
about 200 feet above his head while flying eastward.

Let's go birding......

Wallace Coffey
Bristol, TN

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  • » [TN-Bird] Washington Co. TN Swallow-tails still present