Our friend Matt B (20 yrs. old) was looking for fluddles in NE Ottawa Co. on August 17th and came upon a Swallow-tailed Kite (STKI) coursing over a soybean field at 5:15 PM on August 15th. Swallow-tailed Kite chase 1: About 15 birders were driving around the country roads near the location that evening from 6:00 to dusk looking for the Kite without success, including us. Swallow-tailed Kite chase 2: We met a friend in the location Thursday morning and spent from 9:00 to 12:30 again driving around the location looking without success. Swallow-tailed Kite chase 3: Word came in on August 19th at 1:40 the STKI was relocated. Carl was headed to a 2:00 dentist appt. We left here at 3:15 and when we got almost there, it flew away. We stayed and about 20 minutes later it showed up again far off over the tree line. It coursed over the field and over our heads for the next 45 minutes before it left for the night around 5:15 PM. It was not seen in Ottawa County again by any birders. This was the first Ottawa County record and a lifer for Matt.
Many locals would stop and ask what we were doing when they encountered groups of birders at three different locations. One couple that stopped said it was in a tree above their house on August 4th. I asked if they posted it anywhere. We do not do Facebook but one of the other birders with us does. She told us where she posted it without a photo. It unfortunately is a website that is mostly used for posting lots of orioles in the spring and Northern Cardinals, etc. so local birders do not check it.
Surprisingly on August 23rd a STKI was observed in Allegan County. One county south of Ottawa. Also, a first county record and many birders who missed it in Ottawa were able to add it to their life list and/or Allegan and/or Michigan list. We went down to see it also. This time the bird is seen almost all day long. It was three-quarters of a mile from the Ottawa County line.