It was late in the day. I had just eaten supper and was feeling lazy, but the day had a little light left in it, so I grabbed my camera and walked the property. A haze from wildfires in Georgia had muted the light and I really wasn't expecting much in the way of photographs. Down by the mailbox, I could see a Mississippi Kite soaring like a speck in the sky. It was at an altitude and horizontal distance that made a photo impossible, but I could see the distinctive shape that told me the kites were back.
Every year we have a pair of kites that use our place to perch, hunt, etc. I was a little concerned this year, because I had not seen them yet. Even if I couldn't photograph that distant kite, I was still thrilled to see him. I started to push on into my woods when a rustling nearby stopped me.
I had been standing still and quiet watching the kite and something was creeping through the palmettos. Pretty soon, an armadillo poked his nose out and proceeded to snuffle his way towards me. I almost left then. Armadillo and barred owl photos are daily events here, but then the dillo did that "stand up on your hind legs, sniff, squint" thing they do, so I stayed still for a few more shots.
That's when the shadow passed over the ground between the dillo and me.
It was the kite and it landed in the old pine snag across the street! It did this while I was standing a hundred feet away with the sun at the right angle!
THANK YOU MR. ARMADILLO! I would have moved on and missed this if it weren't for you.
I took some handhelds for insurance shots and then risked moving over to my huge mailbox stand by the street. I needed a tripod and the United States Postal Service was going to assist me.
I leaned onto the mailbox and braced myself as I fired off shot after shot ... thankful for the spare batteries in my jeans. Then he flew off.
I was stoked.
Then he came back!
Then a second one showed up!
Then, and this is where I still have "pinch me, I must be dreaming" bruises, the two of them mated in the light of a setting sun.