Tag Archives: reintroduction

The Kites

As you know, we went to Gigrin Farm last week to watch the Kite feeding. It was quite an experience. It seems to be quite a popular thing to do, as there are two other sites who feed kites – one at Llanddeusant and another at Bwlch Nant yr Arian. They may not all offer the number of kites seen at Gigrin, but even 50 kites are a majestic sight.

The growth from a couple of pairs in the 1950s is an epic story. In the rest of the UK they have done it by importing stock from Spain, Sweden and Germany, but in Wales they have done it all by improving the environment. The fact that Buzzards (another big, lazy predator) has recently done well suggests that things are working with the birds (lack of gamekeepers and plenty of rabbits being big factors).

Their predilection for dead prey does help – you can’t imagine Goshawks and Peregrines coming down for a scoop of ground beef.

Things are going so well we are actually using our own Kites to repopulate the UK and have actually sent some back to Europe.

The only place they aren’t doing well is the north of Scotland, a heavily keepered area. You may draw your own conclusions. You  might also want to look here for reports of crimes against Kites and other raptors.

But on a more positive note, have a look at the photos and imagine the loud claps as they strike wings with their neighbours. If you are lucky you can even see the two birds falling from the sky after colliding. Unfortunately I couldn’t catch it on film.

There are other birds on the farm too. What you don’t see is that it then doubled back to have another go at the reflection. I’m not sure it’s good for the mental health of the peacock but it seemed reasonably happy.

Later I will do a post with some photos.

Where have all the Buzzards gone?

I didn’t see a single Buzzard today on the way to Peterborough, just three Kestrels and a Red Kite.  My first thought on seeing an increase in Kestrels and a decrease in Buzzards is that the Kestrels must have eaten the Buzzards.

According to point 4 in this document I couldn’t be more wrong: it looks like Buzzards may actually be eating Kestrels. As the ones I see are mainly lurking round roadsides waiting for a car to kill something, or even walking the floor looking for worms, I’m amazed they have the energy, or the speed to take a Kestrel.

This sounds wrong to me, as I don’t really think of birds of prey eating each other. I tend to think of them eating less well-armed prey. A quick look at the diet of the Eagle Owl demonstrates that birds of prey do eat other birds of prey – one record of a nesting pair in Scandinavia tool 13 other raptors in a single breeding season. Their favoured prey is the Buzzard. If we ever start a reintroduction process for the Eagle Owl they won’t be short of food for while.

In the end I’ve been forced to conclude the Buzzards were just somewhere else, possibly sheltering from the wind. On cold, wet days I’ve often noticed that they tend to hunch down at lower levels, and are more inclined to take to the fields looking for worms. On previous windy days I’ve also noted a lack of birds. I suspect that, like me, they look for shelter when it’s windy.

After seeing my father and being soundly beaten at dominoes I went to the services on the A1 for a bean burger (for research purposes only, you understand). I took some photographs of the Roman antiquities they found whilst excavating the foundations. I’ll load them tomorrow as I can’t get them off my phone.