Date of this Version
"Notes," from Nebraska Bird Review (June 1981) 49(2).
MISSISSIPPI KITE. At 3:30 p.m. 7 September 1980 Alan Grenon and I observed a Mississippi Kite from the back porch of our house, which is several meters south of Fontenelle Forest and about 1 km. west of the Missouri River, overlooking the flood plain. The bird was coming from the east, about 5 m. above the trees. The flight was extremely buoyant and smooth, rather like that of a light-bodied gull or swallow. When it was above us it began to glide in circles, just above the trees. From time to time it reached with its head for its feet, eating what apparently were butterflies. Not once did the bird flap. After less than 5 minutes of this the bird flew swiftly towards the southwest. The Kite was under observation with 7 x 35 and 7 x 50 binoculars at a distance of about 25 m., under such conditions that most field marks were easily visible. Both wing and tail were long, the latter distinctly squared at the end. The bird was dark gray above, with the very pale head contrasting greatly. The underparts were light gray, the breast faintly but noticeably streaked brown. The remiges were slaty; the wing linings were generously flecked with buff. The tail from below was barred in brown and light gray. The feet were orange.
TURKEY. Lee Morris, Norris Alfred, and] saw a wild tom Turkey in the Platte River area north of Hordville while birding Easter Sunday (19 April 1981) afternoon. It was the first one seen in this area by anyone of us for a few years, although they were believed to be in the area. We also saw Wood Ducks, Magpies, and lots of Cedar Waxwings.
HAWK CONCENTRATION. On 24 September 1980, about 16 miles south of Hyannis, we saw an amazing spectacle. We spotted hawks sitting on the ground in an old hay field. Upon further inspection it was discovered that this flock was spread out over the entire field, with the hawks hopping about on the ground catching something (we assumed mice, but on consulting Bent decided it was probably grasshoppers). Swainson's Hawks probably constituted 95% or more of the flock, with what may have been a few Red-shouldered Hawks scattered in with them. Hawks seemed to be everywhere: on the ground, on the stacks, and on fence posts. I conservatively counted 147 hawks in the main field, and we estimated the entire flock at over 200 birds. This was early morning. We stopped again on the way home later in the day, but the hawks were gone.
(Similar concentrations of Swainson’s Hawks, near Albion and near Ewing, were reported in NBR 47:66. These also were in late September)