Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Red Kites

The red kite is a bird that has rapidly increased in population since my last visit to the UK in 2009, and as it happens is quite well known in the culture of Wales. It is now commoner than the common buzzard over much of its range. For those who don't know what a red kite is see this image.

What? It's not like you specified what kind of red kite you didn't know about.

The destination today was Gigrin Farm. Though I had now seen quite a few red kites, and though I would definitely appreciate getting closer looks at these now ubiquitous birds, my main intention was to see a "shooting star" of nature. Not only was this specific kite "a shining white flash across the sky" but it, like all things, would eventually die and disappear from the sky, though once it is gone I doubt it will return predictably in a certain hundreds of years. Red kites, depending on circumstances, apparently live anywhere from about 8-20 years. As it happens, pure-white mutations are awfully uncommon and hard to come by, and I do have an interest in unusual colourations in species so I was keen on finding this bird.

The kites were wild, but the feeding was anything but wild. At 2:30pm each day food, consisting of various meat-type meat (I'm really feeling creative today) was thrown into a field where the kites would promptly "kite" down within metres of the bird hides. Of course, this sounds a little silly and many critics would consider it to be too "fake" to be worthwhile, but in reality its no different than feeding birds with a seed or nut feeder in your garden. The kites congregate well before the feeding time, so even without paying entry you can still get good looks at the birds when they soar overhead.

Since I haven't sorted through all the images yet you'll have to cope with these randomly selected ones.

Isn't this a good place to make a joke about fast food?

This is one of the kites with more subtle leucism. I didn't notice
it until I looked through my photos actually. 

So you've seen lots of kite pictures, and the end of this blog is only seconds away. So where is the real white kite? Apparently the white kite always comes in much later to join the feeding frenzy, and that is true. We left at about 3pm, and only then did I see a flash of white across the hills. It was flying towards the feeding station, but a bit too late unfortunately. You'll have to live with the distant shots.

Its quite interesting how dark it can look it certain areas, depending on the angle and lighting.

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