I am sure I saw a red kite this morning

(99 Posts)
OwlLady Tue 04-Dec-12 13:56:03

It was massive. I saw it from the back and it was flying through the woods near my house. I have never seen a bird with a wing span SO big shock I thought it was an owl to begin with...hmm but it's body was too small

could it have been a red kite? I live in Beds

If anyone is bored enough, please advise grin

mistlethrush Tue 04-Dec-12 13:57:16

They appear to have VERY long, quite narrow wings - much narrower but longer than buzzards wings. They also have a very distinctive forked tail which is the real giveaway.

SilverSky Tue 04-Dec-12 13:58:23

They are rife in Bucks. Everywhere! So it's very possible it was one. They are massive.

SilverSky Tue 04-Dec-12 13:58:48

YY to forked tail also.

OwlLady Tue 04-Dec-12 14:03:11

we get lots of buzzards, it just didn't look like a buzzard. But yes, they are massive too! I need to get a bird spotting book i think

(and thank for answering..I needed to share)

GrimAndHumourlessAndEven Tue 04-Dec-12 14:04:24

The underwings are very definite black-and-white near the wingtips

They are NORMOUS birds, heeeee-yuge wingspan. I felt I was in the Andes looking at condors when I saw my first one. Lol

Welsh borders here

Frontpaw Tue 04-Dec-12 14:05:56

Aren't they pretty? We see them in Stirlingshire where go up.

peeriebear Tue 04-Dec-12 14:06:27

They look a bit like they have the circles under the wings like a Spitfire. We have loads of them here (Midlands council estate) smile

CMOTDibbler Tue 04-Dec-12 14:07:18

Quite possibly - they are v common in Oxon, Berks and Bucks now. If you drive down the M40, I've seen up to 50 between Oxford and the M25

OwlLady Tue 04-Dec-12 14:10:49

well I think you are spoilt CMOTDibbler as I have only seen my first one today smile I didn't know they were so commonblush but yes it was very pretty and I felt a bit Andes esque too

arent birds just lovely anyway? I never really understood bird watching until I got a bit older

InExitCelsisDeo Tue 04-Dec-12 14:16:16

Very jealous. Have never seen one.

I did see a Kingfisher the other day though.

<throws hat into the ring>

peeriebear Tue 04-Dec-12 14:17:56

I haven't seen a kingfisher for years! You don't realise how tiny they are until you see one- it was like somebody throwing an iridescent Powerball.

GrimAndHumourlessAndEven Tue 04-Dec-12 14:22:33

They were persecuted for decades, the pop plummeted, the recovery of the red kite has been a triumph

Yy to birdwatching being a bit of a bore when younger. My dear ole dad had us join the catchily-named Young Ornithologist Club as kids. Was ugh and embarrassing BUT we knew diff tit calls, could tell mistle thrush from song thrush. Ha ha ha.

Sorry for derail/hijack

LoopsInHoops Tue 04-Dec-12 14:24:53

My friend's cat has so far caught a kingfisher, a woodpecker and a baby owl. sad

OwlLady Tue 04-Dec-12 14:31:46

lol at the club being embarrassing grin I was made to attend church without my parents, such was the 80s

I have also not seen a kingfisher for years envy

I have woodpeckers, jays and game birds in the back garden though... the buzzards kill the game birds though if they get them. Rip them to peices

iseenodust Tue 04-Dec-12 14:32:17

Inexit if you live middle of the UK, guaranteed to see some if have outing to Harewood House.

peeriebear Tue 04-Dec-12 14:33:07

Bloody hell Loops! Watch out for it dragging a condor through the catflap...

AvonCallingBarksdale Tue 04-Dec-12 14:34:09

Bucks here and there are loads of them!! They were reintroduced in this area some time ago in one of the most successful reintroduction programmes ever, don't you know! They're spectacular birds.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 04-Dec-12 14:37:06

There are loads in the Chilterns. If you saw a bird with wings like barn doors, then it will have been one. I wish we had them in Cornwall.

They are really one of our conservation success stories in England and Wales. If only other birds of prey could have the same success - bastard fucking gamekeepers angry

OwlLady Tue 04-Dec-12 14:41:50

are gamekeepers allowed to shoot birds of prey? shock

yes i was a townie for 33 years

mistlethrush Tue 04-Dec-12 14:46:48

DS (7) is getting quite good at birds... trees are easier as they don't move as much grin. I do think that its much easier birdwatching when you can recognise what you should be looking out for by the sound its making - that's what we normally notice first with kingfishers - and bullfinches.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Dec-12 14:48:56

>are gamekeepers allowed to shoot birds of prey
I don't think so - nor poison them. But some do it. sad

Is this the December Top Trumps thread in winter camoflage? grin

We get them circling over our house, sometimes a few at a time eyeing up the children, they have a breeding programme at Harewood near to where we live which has been very successful.

"Is this the December Top Trumps thread in winter camoflage?"

I'll change that to sometimes 10-20 at a time. grin

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 04-Dec-12 14:53:56

No they're not allowed to. Nor are they allowed to take their eggs or lay poisoned bait. Yet they still do it. Golden eagles should be flourishing in the Southern Uplands now, but they're not.

I'm trying to think of something good I have seen lately. I don't think there's anything sad. A few lapwings in a field off the M5, that's all.

OwlLady Tue 04-Dec-12 14:58:05

oh that's sad sad

Grimma, i am impressed with the fact this thread went into most active and I thought no-one would respondgrin i talk about this stuff in real life and it's usually met with silence or that's nice dear

MrsChristmasVamos Tue 04-Dec-12 14:58:51

I live in Bucks. I see Red Kites every day. They fly over my house all the time.

I was shock at how big they are too. They are amazing to watch. smile

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 04-Dec-12 14:59:57

I want to see one <whines>

OwlLady Tue 04-Dec-12 15:00:57

I am very close to Bucks.....

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 04-Dec-12 15:02:38

I just read this:

"How close did the Red Kite get to extinction? It's hard to give exact figures, but from scientific research at Nottingham University we do know that the entire population of kites in 1977 emanated from just one female bird."


OwlLady Tue 04-Dec-12 15:04:35

crikey, that's amazing! Did they nickname her Eve?

mistlethrush Tue 04-Dec-12 15:41:58

There are three different hotspots for kites that I know of. The Welsh Red Kites are very much less visible than the English ones - they come from a different origen I believe - they are less happy to be visible if they see humans about, although with the feeding this is becoming less marked. There are two big populations in England - based upon the Chilterns (where I used to live) and Yorkshire (where I now live). Over the past 20 years they have become really quite a common sight in some parts of the chilterns, and possibly slightly less common - but still a regular sight - in Yorkshire. I even saw a bird-of-prey display that was interrupted by wild red kites coming to see what was happening - it put some of the display birds off and an owl ended up sitting in a tree to get out of the way.

Twitterqueen Tue 04-Dec-12 15:45:39

Kites have a slightly forked tail, buzzards a fan tail.
Pretty much common as muck round my way but that doesn't mean I don't love seeing them.

Now, can we reintegrate eagles, wolves and bears too?

In the right habitats, obviously wink

SweetMingePie Tue 04-Dec-12 15:46:32

I saw a huge flock of waxwing birds last week. I've never seen them before, me and my sister were watching them for a good 10 minutes. They actually came pretty close to us (we were standing in a car park watching them), beautiful birds. They were getting stalked by horrible magpies though so flew off.

GrimAndHumourlessAndEven Tue 04-Dec-12 15:54:43

Municipal car parks are great for waxwings, they love the berries on the serried rows of rowans that adorn them

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 04-Dec-12 15:54:50

When Kites were first reared and then re-released they were released on to Salisbury Plain as the army usage protects lots of bird species from less desirable humans - birds don't care about tanks and the army keep away from the nesting grounds at the right times. When Greenham Common was returned to common land between 1998 and 2000 it combined with the North Hampshire Downs a lovely little pocket that the Kites jumped into. They are now so common in this area you feel hard done by if a day goes by when you haven't seen a kite. We have Buzzards and many other raptor species in this area including the wonderful magical nightjars. Now for my soapbox - this is part of what makes the restoration of Greenham and Crookham Commons to common land the single most significant environmental project of the20th Century.

Abra1d Tue 04-Dec-12 15:56:02

I have had seven flying over me on a dog walk in the South.

Although they are lovely I do worry that they have dominated bird life. I hope they have not flourished at the expense of other raptors.

mistlethrush Tue 04-Dec-12 15:58:57

Nightjars aren't raptors though are they - raptors are the falcons, buzzards, kites etc

I would love to hear them though. And bitterns.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 04-Dec-12 16:02:07

I'm in Cambridgeshire and sometimes we are lucky enough to see Red kites here but they are rare. We have resident Marsh Harriers out the back of where I live and we regularly see them when walking the dog, Hen Harriers visit during the season too. I am fortunate enough to live in a house that backs onto a SSSI.

DS now lives in Oxfordshire and sees Buzzards and Red Kites frequently but gets all excited at the number of kestrels he sees when he comes home to stay for a few days (despite having a female kestrel called Jill who loves DS as if he were a husband, she gets really cross at DS if he ignores her when they are doing a display together).

Abra1d Tue 04-Dec-12 16:03:09

No nightjars aren't raptors. Why?

I get to see kites from my garden. Amazing birds.

Never seen a kingfisher though.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 04-Dec-12 16:23:44

We have bitterns and kingfishers, in the 12 years I've lived here I've seen the bittern once and heard it boom on another occasion.

Kingfishers seem to be a rarer occurrence than they were when we first lived here but one day this summer, after a tough day I took a walk down on the fen and stood at the jetty where the boat ties up. While stood listening to the peace a flash of blue flew down the Lode making me jump. It was one of the few days I didn't have my camera on me.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Tue 04-Dec-12 16:41:41

There's a growing population of red kites in the industrial landscapes of the north east as well. The RSPB has done amazing work in the area.

mistlethrush Tue 04-Dec-12 16:57:48

Abra1d - my comment was not aimed at you - you hadn't mentioned nightjars in your post before mine... Lonecat did - and the way it was phrased suggested that nightjars were raptors - but I am presuming that wasn't what she meant and she was just rhapsodising about the interesting birdlife in the area - about which I'm envy!

Abra1d Tue 04-Dec-12 19:33:34

Oh sorry! I confuse myself sometimes. But how great that we are all so interested in birds (and their environments, which desperately need conserving and protecting)!

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 04-Dec-12 20:14:16

I posted a wonderful reply explaining why nightjars are not raptors, but can be classed in same group as owls and raptors, but for DNA reasons have their own classification it all got lost somewhere.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 04-Dec-12 20:19:02

Loving this thread.

My 20 yr old DS has Asperger's and his 'thing' is birds, especially owls and raptors. Since he has moved away to become a falconer i have missed our little chats about all things bird-like.

greenhill Tue 04-Dec-12 20:33:17

We have red kites roosting in the trees next to our garden, owls fly through regularly and in the evening we have bats.

When I put scraps and seeds out first thing in the morning the first visitors are blackbirds, then magpies, doves and pigeons, rooks, jays, robins and wrens. Later on we get long tailed tits, cole tits, chaffinches, dunnocks and blue tits. Occasionally we get bullfinches, a tree creeper and a woodpecker.

I have seen hoopoes less than 10 miles from our house, they are extraordinary.

InExitCelsisDeo Tue 04-Dec-12 23:00:15

Hurrah, we have a top trumps thread in the depths of winter.

I have seen hoopoes in Egypt. Fabulous birds.

We have loads of blackbirds in the garden, which apparently are the only bird to have done well this year.

Which part of Cambs are you in, hellhasnofury? I live in the NW part of the county and see kites almost every day. They fly unnervingly low over the village and can often be seen at the nearby zoo swooping down to nick food from animal enclosures.

GrimmaTheNome Tue 04-Dec-12 23:12:39

I saw a kingfisher recently - flash of blue but then it perched in a tree to eat the fish it had caught which it did at leisure. It was directly opposite us on the other side of Lancaster canal very near where it ends, which is well into Preston.

What we'd though would be a mundane dog-walk was transformed! smile

Never seen a red kite though. DD has one on the wall of her room - its almost totally covered with the poster pull-outs from the kids RSPB mag.

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 05-Dec-12 09:19:28

Kingfishers are like a little flash of bright blue joy <poetic>

GrimmaTheNome Wed 05-Dec-12 09:28:06

Unless you're a small fish grin

DameMargotFountain Wed 05-Dec-12 09:33:19

ohhhh red kites grin

they're almost garden birds in certain part of Northants - the Forestry Commission have laid aside sanctuaries for them to breed. That's been very popular and worked a treat!

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 05-Dec-12 09:35:09

Arf at "unless you're a small fish". Ok, like a little flash of bright blue violent death being repeatedly clubbed against a rock.

DameMargot- I'm quite near the Northants border and we often get kites flying over the house. I know when they do, partly because they are quite loud and partly because the cats come scrambling through the cat flap and hide under the sofa grin

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Wed 05-Dec-12 09:39:34

Herons low flying freak me out they are like pterodactyls!!!

Red kites, beautiful. But they don't half bother the baby birds in my garden :0(

CMOTDibbler Wed 05-Dec-12 09:40:27

Red kites are def garden birds to my parents DameMargot - they are S Oxon, and dad whistles to the kites, and they'll come down to him, calling. Its amazing to see.

MsElleTow Wed 05-Dec-12 09:42:44

We are in Rutland and we have lots of Red Kites. We never tire of seeing them. We, also, have Osprey who nest and return to Rutland water each Spring/Summer.

We are really lucky with the bird life round here. Next door, but one was empty so a pair of little owls nested in the roof! We have tawny owls in the woods at the top of the road, wood peckers and sparrow hawks visit the garden among all all the other birds. My teen boys like sitting watching them as much as DH and I!

DameMargotFountain Wed 05-Dec-12 09:48:55

they make a really lovely whistle don't they? you see them and expect an eerie screech!

we could have a local twitchers meet here, i can see Rutland from my house, MsElleTow grin and have sighted the Osprey over ours too - amazing birds.

Heron also a regular visitor, i think one was the reason my Dsis found a fancy carp on the bonnet of her car recently

ArtfulAardvark Wed 05-Dec-12 09:53:27

Oxfordshire - the kites are prolific here, at any time I have between 3 - 6 circling overhead and I regularly get to watch Kites v Crows - which is a very noisy event! As you say they are massive, the wing tips are spikey and the males have red colouring (beautiful) Hubbys bird book says the Kite helped to clear Tudor London's garbage.

We get an owl on the tree at the end of the garden, a woodpecker has taken a fancy to the telegraph pole in my neighbours garden and a heron regularly comes to psych out our pond.

We had rat issues earlier in the year and at one point a kestrel grabbed one from our garden - leaving carnage and its jawbone on the grass (now outed myself to anyone who knows me)

ArtfulAardvark Wed 05-Dec-12 09:56:33

If anyone had ever told me when I was younger I would be interested in/have conversations about birds i'd have thought they had lost their mind grin

I never realised, until one took over our garden, exactly how stroppy robins are too!

AnnaBegins Wed 05-Dec-12 10:01:51

I saw a kite the other day in Wales, they are so beautiful. But we were with a twattish man (who is a twat anyway, not solely because of this) who kept declaring every buzzard we saw to be a kite hmm Don't think he realised I was brought up around birds of prey and know my buzzards from my kites, kestrels, goshawks, and any other bird this country can throw at me! grin

Northants here too.

I took DS for a walk through the woods at Brigstock at Halloween and counted 14 red kites circling and swooping. It was amazing.

DH has just about forgiven me for taping over our holiday video to record a red kite eating its dinner in my back garden grin

mistlethrush Wed 05-Dec-12 10:11:07

I find the little brown birds difficult to deal with - some of the warblers - and then some of the waders (particularly if you are binocular-less and without a guide).

Startail Wed 05-Dec-12 10:12:57

I was brought up in Mid Wales and the day I saw 3 red kites together cycling round the Elan valley was amazing.

30 years later my Mum gets 30+ circling over head every day as they go to the feeding centre.

The breading program has been very very successful.

Yes the obvious give away that its a kite not a buzzard is the tail. They are also slightly lighter built, their wings are slightly narrower. The often hold them slightly bent in a way buzzards generally don't.

If you are very lucky and get the sun on them they are the most amazing colour, no doubt at sll as to their name.

DameMargotFountain Wed 05-Dec-12 10:13:54

a hobby about hobbies Anna grin

we've had one of those in the garden too <ups steaks>

Startail Wed 05-Dec-12 10:15:07

all stupid touch screens blush

AnnaBegins Wed 05-Dec-12 10:33:59

Wow Margot, I don't think I have ever seen a hobby!

OwlLady Wed 05-Dec-12 13:06:06

I have three robins in my garden who are regular and as of yet they have not been aggressive to me, infact they are quite the opposite and follow me around, a bit like snow white... I have one that flies into the shed and hides and I have to say come out now for it to fly out before I close the door.

greenhill Wed 05-Dec-12 13:22:01

The robins in my parent's garden are very territorial and fight frequently, possibly because my parents have several feeders out and get hundreds of birds a day.

The few that visit my garden are very bold and like to watch me digging from about 2 feet away, so they can get the worms / grubs as I turn the soil over.

SmallIWantForXmasIsA6ft2Dwarf Wed 05-Dec-12 13:27:41

I've seen 22 at one time here. It was only once but normally we have 8 kites living in our village. I love them, I think they are beautiful.

SmallIWantForXmasIsA6ft2Dwarf Wed 05-Dec-12 13:27:54

Oh I'm in Bucks/Chilterns

SmallIWantForXmasIsA6ft2Dwarf Wed 05-Dec-12 13:31:04

We have woodpeckers and robins in our garden too, the robins are very territorial to other birds (particularly other robins).

We also have bats, badgers, Muntjacks and foxes. I'm from London so all this is lovely to me!

greenhill Wed 05-Dec-12 13:52:53

Surely you had plenty of foxes in London, ripping the bin bags open?! small

We have foxes, badgers and muntjacs visiting our garden. One year a female muntjac deer ate every single head off the tulips in our back garden, before they had opened. Because of her limp, I had been too kind to open the window and frighten her off.

It is a real privilege to see the new cubs/ fauns visiting every year smile

Frontpaw Wed 05-Dec-12 13:56:36

We have foxes here. I watch them sauntering along the wall at the back! The buggers do go after the bin bags too! I think they live in Hyde Park as I have seen them next to the Royal Albert Hall and Gloucester Road too.

SmallIWantForXmasIsA6ft2Dwarf Wed 05-Dec-12 14:41:32

True greenhill (actually that's all they do here too!) it was more the combination of wildlife tbh.

The magpies attack the muntjac in our garden, they started pulling its fur off it's back the big meanies!

greenhill Wed 05-Dec-12 14:50:08

The magpies must have known the fur would keep their nests warm!

I had a white rabbit when I was little and used to groom it in the garden, my DM used to tell me that the birds used to gather it up for their nests too.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Wed 05-Dec-12 16:28:39

EauRougelyNight - East Cambs, I live backing on to the National Trust's first ever nature reserve it's still going strong some 100+ years later.

Ah right, I know where you are. The kites are gradually spreading, a couple of years ago they never used to fly over the village; they would just stick to the farmland west of where I live. Now you can see them flying over the A1M so they are going further east and there are definitely more of them.

OwlLady Wed 05-Dec-12 18:34:51

I have had a munjac die in my garden sad god knows what from

I can't bear the foxes as they worry me (sorryblush) <chicken keeper> I can smell them when i am outside, especially of an evening (the cubs are cute but I will keep that to myself wink)

ArtfulAardvark Wed 05-Dec-12 19:45:11

No owl lady the Robins are feisty with other birds, after watching for a while I had a look in DHs bird book and it said they are very territorial. They tolerate the Dunnocks but are real thugs to the blue tits.

SilverSky Wed 05-Dec-12 23:54:17

We had a robin lay eggs and they hatched in our shed. All four. Then one day they'd all fledged. Not a thank you or anything. Talk about ungrateful. wink

OwlLady Thu 06-Dec-12 12:21:07

oh, it's because I am not a bird grin blush

FryingNemo Fri 07-Dec-12 17:01:24

I saw three flights of cranes heading back down south today - it was one of those perfect nature spots. I was outside shovelling snow and I heard them. I looked up and saw three Vs against the snow clouds.

<<happy sigh>>

GrimmaTheNome Fri 07-Dec-12 18:45:35

I had a gang of bumbarrels on my fatball feeder this afternoon (if you don't know what I mean, Google grin).

FryingNemo Sat 08-Dec-12 15:53:41

Another 150 cranes in a perfect V in the gloaming. Beautiful and noisy!

Overreactionoftheweek Sat 08-Dec-12 15:58:42

I live in Berkshire and had to go to John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford for lots of scans during pregnancy...we felt like we were adopted by the red kites as we always saw them on the way to and from our appts - we took it as a good omen and indeed all turned out well!

Superstitious nonsense I'm sure but we now think of them as our family mascot and whenever we see one, we think that they're checking up on the baby!

GrimmaTheNome Sat 08-Dec-12 17:55:24

We don't have cranes in my neck of the woods yet, but masses of geese and swans at Martin Mere, some in flight (and all the usual wildfowl - hundreds of widgeon)

I also had an eider duck and a shelduck eating out of my hand - usually its only the nenes that dare do that. The eider was really enthusiastic - I'm glad they don't have teeth!

LAlady Fri 28-Dec-12 23:09:13

We have loads of Red Kites round us - on the border of Berks/Bucks. In fact someone appears to leave food out for them everyday behind our house, and we have up to 10 of them swooping down. It actually can be a bit intimidating.

There was an article about how a Red Kite had tried to take a small dog in one of the fields near to us, in the local newspaper.

cutegorilla Fri 28-Dec-12 23:12:17

I see them a lot here but I get excited every single time. They are so big and so beautiful grin

lidlqueen Fri 28-Dec-12 23:13:23

they are quite savage - one time there was one flying low ahead of us in the lane and it had a crow in its talons - the poor fucker was squirming and wriggling but had no chance at all.

Loshad Fri 28-Dec-12 23:28:25

There are loads on my commute to work, (past Harewood) I love watching them and one day i will probably swerve into a ditch watching them hunt.
We have kingfishers near my house, the village mag reported them missing this summer, I know better having seen them out hacking, but i reckoned if they had taken the bother to relocate then they didn't want to receive visitors grin

Wow, that must have been a tough kite! I quite regularly see them getting beaten up by crows near me. I think they fight over roadkill.

faketandisaster Sat 16-Mar-13 22:24:08

Loads here (Chilterns).

They're about as common as starlings...

Stivian62 Sat 15-Jun-13 15:02:27

Hi I also live in Cambridgeshire. The red kites appeared in large numbers here along the a1 corridor in the summer of July 2011. Flying over our garden. I was lucky enough to get a video. This video is available on you tube, type in red kite Cambridgeshire in google and select video. It is hosted by suffolkowls. They are now in Girton and other parts of Cambridgeshire. There are also buzzards in Wennington. I am still trying to get a photo in sunshine of the kites, but I keep missing them lol. Enjoy

meglet Sat 15-Jun-13 15:14:06

There's 1-3 kites regularly above us, we're North Hampshire.

They're often lurking over the school playing field. I've not seen them swoop down and catch anything yet.

Godlessdomestic Sat 19-Oct-13 14:46:15

We live in west Berkshire (nr Greenham Common) and often see Red Kites. They are the most magnificent birds.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Fri 25-Oct-13 13:25:53

They are really common here, and so beautiful. A few years ago if we saw one, we'd point it out - 'oh, look, there's a red kite!' Nowadays we see them all the time, I'd be more likely to point out a sparrow.

They swoop over the house and garden, and are very welcome, although their loud whistling sound is enough to wake me up early in the summer when we have the windows open.

A fantastic conservation success story.

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