January 15, 2014 Galveston Island, Texas

Galveston Raptors

Black shouldered kites
Black shouldered kites

As always, just click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Got a late start this morning, not leaving the campsite until around 11 AM. Absolutely perfect weather, clear blue skies, mid 60’s with a gentle breeze, could not be nicer!

I took the short ride up to 13 mile Road and then headed north on Stewart Road looking for white-tailed kites ( formerly known as black shouldered kites ) and other raptors seen often on the edges of the cow pastures here.

Black shouldered kite
Black shouldered kite
Black shouldered kite
Black shouldered kite

 

 

 

 

 

 

It didn’t take too long before a pair of kites was spotted surveying their territory from the very top of a large tree on the edge of the road.

I took the 8 Mile Road out to the bay looking for meadowlarks and kestrels, but came up empty today. Plenty of sandhill cranes out in the fields though, but after Bosque del Apache, not much of a target for me.

Leaving Stewart Road, I headed north on Seawall Blvd. through town to the end of the island in search of Northern Harriers and other hawks that frequent the meadows on the northwest side of the storm barrier.

Male Northern Harrier
Male Northern Harrier

Today I had a shot at (to me ) the rare and elusive male northern harrier, but only managed to get this bird butt shot, hopefully I will run into him again. Though I find female northern harriers virtually everywhere, this is the only place I have ever encountered a male, often referred to as the grey ghost, an absolutely stunning bird.

Osprey on post
Osprey

I checked out the entrance to the ship channel, but as it was low tide, most of the shore birds were out on the sandbars, too far off to shoot, although I did happen upon this osprey perched atop a utility pole .

Black shouldered kites
Black shouldered kites
Black shouldered kites
Black shouldered kites