Friday, 22 April 2011

Kites galore!

Living where I do, there are quite a lot of Red Kites around.  These impressive birds of prey, with wing spans of 2m, were reintroduced to the area about 10 years ago and they have been very successful.  Some people regard them as scavengers rather than predators.  Apparently they are timid and avoid fighting live prey, and they prefer their food well rotted.

Normally I would be impressed to see more than five of them together.  However, yesterday I couldn't count them as they wheeled and tumbled through the air together very close to my house.  There were at least 25 of them for just 10 or 15 minutes.  This picture gives an impression of the spectacle.

Two buzzards were also taking an interest in the crowd.  I wish I could have taken a look from their vantage point soaring high above the kites.


RosaRubicondior said...

Great. Still remember excitedly rushing home to check my bird books to make sure I'd really seen a Red Kite near Wheatley, Oxon. I didn't know then that they were being re-introduced experimentally in the Chilterns.

A few years later the town of Thame, where we then lived, would normally have about a dozen Red Kites in the sky at any given time. This was more than the total UK population only a few years earlier. Their mewing became part of a normal summer day.

When we moved to Abingdon two years ago they have barely reached here, now we usually see three or four a day.

I've now seen them as far north as Milton Keynes and as far south as Newbury.

Fantastic achievement by BBOWT and others.

Anonymous said...

I see them almost daily in Leeds. They were successfully reintroduced by Harewood House.
In fact an area near by is called 'Gledhow' which is old English for 'Kite Hill'.
Sadly one was poisoned recently in Scotland.