Kiting and Flying Kites

comments 14
Nature / Photo Log / Photography / Wildlife

February 17, 2019, San Joaquin River Delta; February 10, 2019, San Francisco Bay. I’m lucky to live in an area where White-tailed Kites are relatively common. Yesterday we went on a birding trip through the San Joaquin River Delta with naturalist David Wimpfheimer on a boat operated by Dolphin Charters. I recommend both. Along the way we saw about sixty species. One standout was this beautiful and cooperative white-tailed kite. He watched us as we slowed to watch him and then, bored with us, he took off. He flew out about two hundred feet and then wheeled around for what I’d like to think was a fly-by for the camera, but I know he was looking for lunch. If he’s anything like his cousin who lives by the San Francisco Bay, I’ll bet it was a good one.





Last weekend we were walking on the levees in the marsh area by the bay in Sunnyvale. The walk was ostensibly for exercise, but we brought cameras too. We always bring cameras. (The weight of the big lens makes for better exercise. That’s what I tell myself. Of course, there just might be birds . . .) The kite you see below was kiting — hovering — for more than three minutes. During that time, his position over the marsh didn’t vary by more than five feet as his eyes swept the ground. Then down he went. Lunchtime.



If anybody tells me to go fly a kite, I’ll tell them that these raptors do it better.

(Nikon D850; Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. RAW processing in DxO PhotoLab 2, final editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


  1. Cathy Lane says

    LOVE these pictures and your description of your birding adventure! What a wonderful series of shots you got of the Kite! I have never seen this bird before, it is beautiful!

    Love getting your pictures and eloquent descriptions of what you are seeing! Keep them coming! It is such a treat!


  2. richard wilson says

    Great photos! What a beautiful bird. Do you owe the kite a small rodent as a modeling fee?


  3. Thanks for sharing your experience so wonderfully. Are the white-tails as territorial as their Mississippi cousins? I’ve had a couple of close encounters with them just walking through my neighborhood.


  4. Carolle-Ann. Mochernuk says

    What a bird! See why they are called Kites. Have never seen one, but the boat trip would be great.


  5. This is fun to see – i wasn’t aware that you can see kites in the SF area. I’ll get down there one of these days, and when I do, I must remember to look for them, maybe on that boat….


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