I had an interesting sighting this morning at Emeralda Marsh of a high-flying Mississippi Kite (MIKI).  At first, I thought it could be a Peregrine Falcon, but once I was able to get a better look at the structure, it was easy to get the ID.  MIKI often gives you a Peregrine type of look.

This kite was not visible to the unaided eye due to its height.  I found it with bins scanning the sky.  It held its wings in a Peregrine shape, a common look you often get from this species.  Without seeing it flap its wing once, I saw it go from the north to the south and out of visible range.  I was hoping to get a look at the top-side wing to try to sex and age it.

It is doubtful this is a very early fall migrant, but this is the look you get during migration.  They like to feed communally so this lone kite flying much higher than typical low hunting altitude and moving a good distance north to south made for an interesting observation today.  This is the look we get of MIKI at the Florida Keys Hawkwatch during the fall migration.

In the photo, note three traits that can clinch an ID for MIKI, even if you are seeing a silhouette in the field or have a poor quality photo like this one:

* the wings are widest at the wrist, taper thinner toward the body and taper to a pointed wing tip.
* p10 is very short.  Both p10s are splayed at this instant so you can easily see the length disparity.
* the tail flairs out at the end; most of the flair happens close to the end of the tail.

Bob Stalnaker
Longwood, FL
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