Friday, August 20, 2010

Somebody's watching me......visit from a praying mantis and a hook-billed kite.

 Yesterday, I climbed a ridge in Piedra Labrada, Veracruz, with a panoramic view northward to see if I could spot some of the first migrating raptors. After scanning the sky for several hours I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. I had a praying mantis perched on my spotting telescope and it was watching me looking for hawks! (or so it seemed :-) ) It reminded me of a blast from the past, a Rockwell song "Somebody's Watching Me. Below is a youtube video thats spoofs the song and I couldn't help bus chuckle when I saw it.

 I got these pics of the praying mantis with my Canon EOS 40D and 60mm ESF 2.8 (macro)
So back to my raptor observations, after scanning for about 5 hours I had seen roaming resident BV's black vultures as well as a handful of resident TV's turkey vultures. In addition to this I could observe that there was a significant dragonfly and butterfly migration underway, with thousands skimming by each hour.
Around 4pm, I got that glimpse that every hawk-watcher and birder wants..... headed my way I could see a distinct raptor profile with some ragged plumage. I had a Hook-billed Kite Chonroheirax unicinatus!! I scrambled for the camera, Canon Rebel T1i with Canon 400mm 5.6 lens and was able to get off about 22 shots as it passed by.
This shot in flight is a male hook-billed kite (gray and white barring on the belly) Hook-billed kites lack a surpra-orbital ridge which gives the head the look of a "monster pigeon on steroids" while in flight.
What a thrill to observe and photograph this bird! I will be continuing to post my raptor migration observations from Veracruz Mexico.
Good birding All and Eyes to the Sky.

David McCauley
twitter:     @ mexicohawk

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