It was the "Day of Young Raptors" at Lake Apopka. Soaring along with two adult Bald Eagles were two sub-adult Bald Eagles. Numerous juvenile Swallow-tailed Kites were once again filling the skies over the Lake Apopka area.
A juvenile Cooper's Hawk got into a tussle with a Swallow-tailed Kite and once again, it was the kite that was the aggressor. Juvenile Red-shouldered Hawks and juvenile Red-tailed Hawks joined the show.
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This is a second young Cooper's Hawk that appeared a few hours later. It has more of a square tail, like a Sharp-shinned Hawk, but its head projection, wing profile and its full, stiff wing beats all point to a "Coop". That yellow eye will turn orange then red as it ages.
The second you look at this raptor you know it is a Red-shouldered Hawk with those blazing crescent windows near the wing tips. The streaking on the chest is a mark of a juvenile.
Another youngster, this time a Red-tailed Hawk. So, where is the red tail? The young ones don't have a red tail.
A young Swallow-tailed Kite admires the food ... but what is it? Butterfly without the wings? Grasshopper without the big legs? Dragonfly? These kites really love dragonflies, but dragonflies don't have antennae and this bug does. What is your guess? Enlarge the image and you can see the antennae.
Looks like the same abdomen but this one has wings.
The weird thing here is this is the same kite as the image above, yet the photos were taken 3 1/2 hours apart. The tail feather splayed and markings on the leading edge of the wing ID this kite as the same kite. There were about 60 Swallow-tailed Kites in this area, and the ones that get close will drift away out of sight eventually. Maybe this one just liked me and wanted to come back and show off.