Monday 8 November 2021

Flying Kites 7th November 2021

Red  Kites are now a familiar sight in certain parts of Britain and none more so than where I live in the northwest of Oxfordshire.They are accepted as part of the landscape and rarely a day goes by without a sight of one or more patrolling the local country roads and  surrounding fields.They are a magnificent and spectacular bird of prey, coloured like the leaves of autumn and often very obvious as, effortlessly gliding and slowly flapping their wings, they pass over the village rooftops and farmland where I live, looking for an easy meal.

Such are their numbers now that  there are places one can go in England,Wales and Scotland that charge a small fee to watch and admire them as they are lured to free food put out at set times.It is quite a sight at one of these locations in Scotland as up to two hundred birds, calling with haunting whistles, swoop and glide above you, the birds arriving well before feeding time to await the food being put out.

I was made aware of another less public place, a farm by a road in a nearby county where a lady puts out roadkill food for Red Kites every day, in the late afternoon. It is entirely on her own initiative and not widely known, so I was on my own when I parked my car and took up position by a roadside hedge in the middle of the afternoon.The weather was just about perfect with a light wind and sunshine and already the kites were wheeling about above me - almost forty in number.

The kites occupied the airspace at both high and relatively low levels, circling far and wide, generally together and drifting in a loose assembly over the road, adjacent fields and woodland as they waited.There were both young and adult birds, the former streakier and lighter brown on both upper and underparts, their colouring less saturated than the adults which were whiter of head and paler of eye, rich rufous underneath and more strongly marked above.

Here are some of the images I took today.

Immature Red Kite

Adult Red Kite

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