SNAIL KITE at the Home Patch: El Franco Lee Park

Snail Kite at El Franco Lee Park, Houston, Texas Photo Stephan Lorenz

Yesterday afternoon I went for my regular walk to El Franco Lee Park, an area I have birded on and off for nearly seven years. A large wetland harbors good numbers of herons, egrets, waders, and waterfowl. Over the years several interesting birds have been found here, like Harris’s Hawk, Wood Storks, and Vermillion Flycatchers, but the bird yesterday was definitely unexpected. Walking along the nature trail on the backside of the reservoir I heard a strange call behind the lines of trees over the water. Looking closer I spotted a medium sized all dark raptor, being always lazy, I only carried my camera (luckily in the end) and had no binoculars. At first I thought the Harris’s Hawk had returned, but after I looked at the bird through my telephoto I was pretty surprised. I ran through all the possibilities in my head, but nothing else fit the bill, literally. There was an adult male Snail Kite sitting less than twenty feet away, calling, and appearing fairly content for the moment. I started taking pictures. After about five minutes it flew to another snag and then took off towards the middle of the wetland. I lost sight of it, but heard it again and spotted it just as it was chased off by Black-necked Stilts and an Eastern Kingbird. It soared high out of sight fairly quickly. Great bird for the Texas list.


One response to this post.

  1. wandering for food and water,,I guess. Neat that you were there to see it. JoAnn Raine


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