Beyond the Backyard

A Visit to the Swallow-Tailed Kites on Powerline Road

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Swallow-Tailed Kite. Powerline Road, Hernando County.

Every year in the summertime, the people on Birdbrains start talking about the kettles of Swallow-Tailed Kites on Powerline Road in Hernando County.   Last year I really wanted to go and see them, but I didn’t.  This year Dyeyo and I decided to drive out there to see what there was to see. We found kites!  Not in the 75+ numbers as described on Birdbrains, but we easily saw 15-20.  They roosted in some distant trees, then flew over the grasslands, generally staying pretty far from the road.  Occasionally we’d luck out and one would fly towards us. Powerline Road is also known for Eastern Bluebirds, American Kestrels, Burrowing Owls, Eastern Meadowlarks, and Red-Headed Woodpeckers.  We saw all these kinds of birds as we drove up and down. I love the song of the Eastern Bluebirds, so I made a video when one started singing on a powerline. It’s too bad it was so windy that day – you hear more wind than song! The excitement about birding at Powerline Road illustrates clearly two distinct types of birders. The first group is what I’ll call the “birdy birders.”  They are most interested in species counts, rare sightings, and bird […]

Beyond the Backyard

We Found Woody!

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Dyeyo and I have been going to Circle B together for over a year now, and for that whole time Dyeyo has been on a quest to see Red-Headed Woodpeckers.  But day after day goes by and Dyeyo still hasn’t seen his “Woody.” So for Father’s Day, I asked Herman to recommend a place where I could take Dyeyo to find a Red-Headed Woodpecker.  Herman recommended a place called Chinsegut (an old Eskimo name, pronounced Chin-SEE-gut.  Try saying it three times fast!).  The name means “the place where things of true value that have been lost may be found again.”  Well, maybe the woodpeckers weren’t lost exactly, but we sure found them! The nature center at Chinsegut is open only on Fridays and Saturdays.  We found it to be a really cool little place.  The best part was outside the center, where there’s a butterfly garden with a ton of bird feeders.   There were a ton of birds, most of them with their young fledglings:  Northern Cardinals, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, Eastern Towhees, House Finches, Blue Jays, Red-Bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and of course, the Red-Headed Woodpeckers.  At one point, I said that I had heard a hummingbird.  Imagine Dyeyo’s […]