Email started flying Saturday that two Mississippi Kites were found in Newmarket, NH. I’m not sure if I’ve followed completely, but it appears that Ben Griffith and Charlie Wright were driving on their way to birding elsewhere and had one fly over. Stopping, they found a second and it went from there. Soon people were reporting that the birds were copulating and carrying sticks! For a species that hasn’t been found breeding north of Virginia, that’s beyond incredible.
I had taken today off planning to go do some atlas work, but plans changed pretty quickly. I left the house just before 8 and was in Newmarket just after 9. As I walked over, 3 birds flew overhead. Two turned out to be Broad-winged Hawks, but the other was one of the kites. Too easy for a life bird around here. Reaching the area they’ve been hanging out (which is a yard right on Main St), two birds were flying back and forth. At one point, one of the birds landed in a tree behind the house but soon took off again.
One birder was already there as I walked up and several others soon joined us. The homeowners were out doing yard work and seemed excited, although I got the impression they didn’t fully understand the significance. We soon backed up across the street as one of the birds came in with a stick and disappeared into the tree right over the road.
After quite some time, I finally found the bird hidden in the tree. It appeared to be sitting on a nest and we soon had 2 scopes on it (not that they helped much). Traffic was getting to be an issue from curious drivers, but I stayed around until the second bird made another couple passes. Of course, I get home and see that 3 birds were seen today!
And for pictures:
Incoming with stick:
And on the nest (you can see a bit of tail and some other feathers if you look closely)
Update: Christopher’s collecting links to photos.