Monday, 27 December 2010
Sunday, 26 December 2010
The gathering of kites at feeding stations can give the impression that there are huge numbers of kites everywhere as revealed by a comment from a wildlife friendly farmer to the effect that he doesn't like to feed the kites as they might over-breed. Haven't quite worked out what that means yet!
Friday, 24 December 2010
Saturday, 18 December 2010
There were birds perched in the nearby trees but, were restless moving about from tree to tree and generally flying around. This was not conducive to reading tags. After the feed was strewn around the feeding area the spectacular began but, with only about two hundred or so kites! There must have a similar number of corvids. After feeding the kites left the area and unusually did not sit around in the trees.
Chris Powell told me a lot more kites were present the previous day, once again confirming my theory that birds anticipate the oncoming weather and feed accordingly.
I was only able to read nine (9) tags all from the principality.
The details are below:-
Black/blue: 87; H1;
Black/Green: 30; 75;
Has anyone been reading tags if so why not post the details here?
There were plenty of birds perched in the nearby trees surrounding the farm awaiting the arrival of the red tractor bringing the red meat to the feeding area. I was able to read several tags. When Chris Powell entered the focal point for the afternoon activities the expectant birds left their vantage points and converged on the feeding area encircling in what appeared to be a frenzy but, nothing could be further from the truth.
The usual spectacular display lasted a mere quarter of an hour whilst he spread the meat across the snowy surface. Eleven minutes later all the meat was removed by close to six hundred Red Kites plus buzzards and corvids.
The kites remained in the vicinity hopefully waiting for a second course! This provided an opportunity to read tags.
A total of twenty five (25) tags were recorded all were from the principality except one that I was unable to determine the region of origin; hopefully Tony will be able to assist here.
The details are below:-
Black/Blue: H6; 55; 86;
Black/black: 02; A; N9; 50; 53; 34; 37;
Black/yellow: A4; N;
Black/purple: 61; 14; A9; C;
Black/pink: F6; 29; F2;
Black/Green: ; L; 17; 73
The unidentified tag was pink in colour showing a white “r”. Initially I thought it had a white regional bar but that transpired to a white frost covered twig.
Sunday, 5 December 2010
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Monday, 29 November 2010
What a difference a week makes oh and minus three degrees in temperature with about an inch of snow! The first winter (dark blue) tagged birds were present in some number. The details are below:-
Black/Blue: N9; f; 10; 37; 55; 50; Z1; 02; 68;
Black/black: a; 77; 68; 87; 89; 36;
N8Black/yellow: 23; Ace of Spades
Black/orange: 51; 65; 29;
Black/pink: 30; 36; L2; N7;
If any of these are from nest monitored by fellow watchers please drop me an email with location details.
Friday, 26 November 2010
On arrival, I saw many birds perched waiting for Chris Powell to start the tractor and deliver the food to the feeding area.
After reading a few tags I made my way to the viewing area, as I passed the rehabilitation aviary I saw a Harris’s Hawk perched on the roof, much to the concern of a buzzard in the aviary.
Chris almost immediately drove past on the tractor and the hawk followed, it had jesses and bells attached the legs!
I later identified twenty nine tagged birds all from the principality plus one from Northumberland.
There was also an untagged leucistic bird paler than black/orange 51. Surprisingly, there was not a single first winter tagged bird present (dark blue)
The details are below:-
Black/black: 11; 37; 50; 53; 55; 77; 99; b; H6; J5
Black/orange: 13; 51; 3 Domino
Black/purple: 52; 74; 82; C; H1
Black/pink: 69; E3; E7; F6; F8; N6
Monday, 15 November 2010
As Christmas rapidly approaches I thought now was a good time (or maybe too late for some!) to remind everyone that the Welsh Kite Trust has a wide range of high quality, bi-lingual, Christmas and Blank cards for sale. This year's new card design is by renown local wildlife artist Terence Lambert and features a Red Kite over snow (now there's a surprise!).
Sunday, 11 July 2010
Saturday, 10 July 2010
Monday, 5 July 2010
Friday, 28 May 2010
Anyway I was quite amused by the whole episode. I've never gotten so close to a bird of prey without being noticed before. Oh by the way there was a single downy chick in the nest. Lets hope when it grows up its more alert than its parent!
The nest is high in a tall oak just in from the downslope edge and facing west; set in a triple fork it is large, secure and has a deep layer of wool in the bowl. The oak leaves are fresh and bright, luminous in the shafts of sunlight as a slight breeze sways the canopy.
This is my only nest that can be observed from above and although the kite has circled high overhead, he/she hasn't whistled yet so I sit and wait a few moments. Then suddenly two white woolly heads pop out of the nest and wait alert, hoping for some food no doubt. I pass on to treasure this image hoping it won't turn into a rain soaked nightmare in June.
Met our leader Tony Cross earlier in the day. He had already ringed choughs on the coast, checked and ringed young in 50 boxes in a steep wood and was on his way into a beautiful valley in the hills to check on the redstarts. Good job he's getting younger by the day!
Tony Cross came back to me on this. Apparently this tagged bird black/white 't' was ringed as a chick in a nest at 'Y Fan' near Llanidloes on 19th June 2002. It was a regular visitor at a kite feeding station near Talsarn during 2003, 2004 and 2005 following which it presumably decided to set up home further north. I checked this nest on the 27th May and the female was sitting tight and the male was nearby but today there was no sign of either bird and the nest appeared empty. I was so disappointed as I had high hopes for this pair. That's whats its like monitoring kite nests you think everything is going well and then you get kicked in the guts! I also checked another nest I had discovered this year and that had failed too. A double whammy! I think what might be significant in these two cases is the proximity of corvids in the vicinity of these breeding sites particularly ravens. Have any other nest-watchers had failures when ravens breed in the vicinity? I mentioned this to one of the landowners and she wanted them all shot! Obviously there is no way I would condone that course of action. I adore the raven as much as I do the kite they are as much part of the Welsh fauna as I am!
Wednesday, 12 May 2010
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
The number of birds present today, of which only a few were tagged, was a lot higher than normal at this time of year - perhaps reflecting a greater input of juveniles from last year's successful breeding. The general shortage of food on the hills as a result of the hard winter and current cold spell must also be having an effect. The agri - environment schemes which remove all livestock from the uplands from October to April must lead to a shortage of carrion, whether it be carcasses or 'afterbirths'. Hence the increasing dependency on the feeding stations. Also this may well have an effect on the the breeding success of the upland kite population, a matter which the WKT are aware of and are monitoring - thanks to all the help from the 'nest-watchers' who contribute to this scheme.
Postscript:- In relation to the information I had following my conversation with a local farmer this morning I visited the location given and discovered a new nest and probably a new pair of untagged kites so the information he gave me was spot on. I engaged in a very positive rapport with the landowners who were very pleased indeed that they had a kites nest on their land. Again these are conservation minded members of the farming community and illustrates the great importance of kite nest watchers maintaining a good 'working' relationship with farmers and other landowners.
Monday, 10 May 2010
I wish to make it quite clear that the above observations are not just my own I have heard comments made by members of the public about the matter.
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
Monday, 19 April 2010
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Steve has also seen a kite at Llanaelhaern near his home about 4 months ago (I presume he means December or January) on the edge of a 200 acre pine plantation known as 'Glasfryn'.
His most recent sighting of a kite was over Llanaber just north of Barmouth on the 5th April
(I know that there are a couple of pairs in that area of Gwynedd).
Thursday, 8 April 2010
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Comments would be appreciated.
Monday, 5 April 2010
Within minutes of my arrival, a couple of days later, two untagged adult birds were seen leaving the nearby spinney, they had been in the area for three or four weeks.
I later made contact with the landowner a retired military officer who unfortunately refused permission to access the spinney for monitoring etc.
I do have two pairs of eyes in the inside so hopefully we will get some data.
Thursday, 1 April 2010
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
My neighbouring farmer is complaining that the long winter has adversely affected his ewes resulting in fewer lambs and today it was 3.6 degrees C around Tregaron.
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Some bad news from Ireland - The following is a press release issued on 27th March by the Golden eagle Trust
Two young Red Kites, recently recovered dead in Co. Wicklow, have both tested positive for poison in the State Lab in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Both birds were collected in Wales by members of the Welsh Kite Trust as part of an ongoing project with the Golden Eagle Trust to restore this magnificent species to Co. Wicklow. The birds were only released last July and news of their poisoning is deeply troubling.
Although all the young kites are fitted with radio transmitters so they may be tracked, both these birds were recovered by concerned members of the public. One was recovered on a road near Aughrim and it was originally thought it may have been struck by a vehicle. The second bird was recovered in more unusual circumstances floating in the sea half a mile off Wicklow head. The bird was recovered by the crew of the Wicklow RNLI lifeboat while they were on operation off the coast of Wicklow. Both birds were submitted for post-mortem and toxicology analysis. This subsequently revealed that the in both cases the cause of death had been ingestion of Alphachloralose.
Alphachloralose, which may be purchased over the counter in many pharmacies and agricultural co-ops, has now been implicated in the poisoning of nine of the reintroduced birds, covering all three species, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle and red kite. In the UK the use of this substance is strictly regulated because of its negative effect on wildlife. In fact it is a well held belief that the continued illegal use of Alphachloralose in the UK is facilitated by the ease of sourcing the poison from Ireland. Its continued wide scale use in Ireland not only threatens our reintroduced species but must also be doing untold damage to other native species that simply goes unreported.
To-date eleven of the birds of prey that are being reintroduced have fallen victim to the illegal use of poisons. So far four different poisons have been identified in the killing of these birds, Alphachloralose, Nitroxinol, Carbofuran and Paraquat. Only one of these chemicals, Alphachloralose, is actually produced as a substance intended for the control of vertebrate species. Illegal poisoning incidents have been confirmed in all four Provinces, clearly this issue is a national issue. The Golden Eagle Trust has lodged a formal complaint with the EU commission over the Irish States failure to protect these birds, which are afforded the highest legal protection possible.
Meanwhile, further toxicology tests on the poisoned Glenveagh Golden Eagle chick, Conall, have found that this bird had also digested a lethal dose of Alphachloralose. Therefore the farmer who put out the dead stillborn or aborted lamb dosed it with both Nitroxinil (found in a liver fluke veterinary medicine) and Alphachloralose (found in rat poison). An Garda Síochána have also received a formal complaint from a member of the public who had their dog poisoned near Ballintrillick, near Gleniff Valley, north County Sligo earlier this spring. A post mortem and toxicology tests shows the dog was poisoned by Strychnine and the complaint focuses on the fact that the dog was poisoned in a fully enclosed private back garden, which the dog had not left for several days before its death. The Gardai are investigating if the Strychnine, which is lethal to humans, was thrown into the back garden where young children were playing. This type of reckless attitude and serious risk to young children is indefensible. We know the Department of Agriculture and national IFA do not condone such actions but they do have an onus to publicly condemn and tackle this type of illegal poisoning and criminality as it continues to tarnish the good name of the vast majority of farmers. The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) have already publicly condemned illegal poisoning.
Mervyn Sunderland of the Wicklow ICSA said “Farmers should be aware of the potential danger of killing Red Kites when using poisons and should refrain from using meat baits. The Red Kites have fit really well into the local area and it would be terrible to see anything threaten their survival here.”
James Hill, Chairman Wicklow IFA, said “I regret the poisoning of the young Red Kites, which would otherwise mature into majestic birds, a number of which I have the pleasure of observing in their natural environment in the course of my farming activities.
Unfortunately society’s aspirations for an unrealistically sanitised rural landscape where all fallen animals legally must be removed from land, militate against successful breeding programmes for birds of prey, whose success depends on an adequate food supply until small mammal populations increase to adequate levels in late spring/ early summer. The role of such birds as scavengers has been forgotten, resulting in a view that predation is their only means of survival.
Perhaps enlightened measures could be adopted in areas associated with such reintroductions which would restore balance in the winter/early spring food supply, thus reducing the perceived threat to sheep farming in these areas. Any reduction in perception would undoubtedly result in less incidents where poisoned baits would be considered necessary.”
Damian Clarke from the Golden Eagle Trust said “It is very disappointing and worrying that these birds were poisoned, especially as this poisoning occurred in the core of the Red Kite range in Wicklow. The frustrating part is that on the ground in this area I have had nothing but support and good will from the locals, farmers and shooting interests. Clearly however there are a number of people involved in farming or game rearing that are continuing to use poisons in a reckless and illegal fashion. This is completely unacceptable and I would ask that all decent law abiding members of these sectors would help us in our efforts to stamp out these illegal activities. I hope that our efforts in this area will receive the full support of the farming and hunting organisations.”
“At this time of year my job should be looking for potential breeding pairs, we hope to have our first Irish Red Kite chicks fledge this year. Instead I find myself collecting poisoned kite corpses, a repeat of this time last year”.
Friday, 26 March 2010
I observed the vista for about ten minutes, from the other side of the valley, when a single adult kite appeared. I watched the bird for several minutes before it disappeared into the wood.
He informed me the birds had been there for several years and produced a number of young, he has not told anyone of their presence. Full access to the area was granted with a number of small conditions attached.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Checking one of my sites I saw a pair, both with nest material, visiting their nest of 4 years. One had wool and one had muddy strands of grass, typical nest lining. About 100m into the wood however, I was dismayed to find this adult suspended on a few twigs, freshly deceased( no, don't do the parrot thing).
Tony came to collect it and found a full crop and no obvious wounds;probably a female. Bit of a mystery.
Today,Philip Ellis and I found a new nest site of a (probably) known pair and the land-owner said"oh, there's hundreds of them now". Well that's true but it's still one of the rarest birds in Europe having to face unknown hazards.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Kite monitoring is never boring!
The other day I was watching one of my local pairs of kites at their nest site in the Machynlleth area and saw one of the birds carry a morsel of carrion onto a branch high up a mature larch tree. It tore away with relish at the piece of carrion and when I zoomed in with my scope to watch the bird I was surprised to see that it was devouring the head of a badger! I could clearly see the distinctive head markings of the badger which was draped over the branch and held firmly in the kites' talons. This is an obvious illustration that kites do obtain some of their sustenance from road kills. Well it will never find a shortage of supply from that source will it? The numbers of badgers killed on the UK roads each year must be phenomenal. The poor old badger now even the kites are turning against them! (Mm... can kites get bovine TB from badgers?!)
Monday, 15 March 2010
Despite tagging nearly all the chicks known to be born in the county, the vast majority of nesting birds are untagged. This means that they either move in from an area which isn't well monitored eg parts of Carms or I miss loads of nests!
It didn't get as far talon grappling but an established pair of kites put considerable effort into hammering a buzzard a few days ago. One of the birds, male orange '!', actually hit the buzzard and it eventually had to flee. I think Orange '!' was tagged by Gwyn in a nest c40km away and is one of the few breeding adults of known origin within the county.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Black Yellow 23 was hatched in 2004 at Halfway, Llandovery and was seen regularly at Gigrin feeding station but has not been seen since 2008. This bird was seen about forty kilometres from the natal nest, where I believe there may have been a nest last year; it would now appear my suspicions were correct.
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Following a conversation with Tony I established the bird was ringed as one of three chicks in a nest close to the Eppynt Ranges west of Erwood in 1998. This being fifteen kilometres from the location it was observed today.
Monday, 8 March 2010
The weather was cold with bright sunlight but, I was always looking towards the sun as the birds quartered the fields paying particular attention to a field that had recently been used for free range pigs. The birds would frequently land in the fields but, the awful light conditions; it was like looking into slightly milky water, made the visibility poor. The tagged bird landed a number of times usually facing towards me so that I could not read the tags. On the few occasions it landed when I could see the tags, it took to the wing before I could focus my telescope. After much frustration and over two and a half hours of continual observation with binoculars and telescope, my patience was finally rewarded when I recorded black pink 29. I was pleased to identify the bird but, I was slightly disappointed as I had seen this bird previously.
This incident has posed a few questions:-
Was the adult bird from a nest that I have not located or was it from a known nest several miles from this location?
Are the first winter birds from unknown local nests or are they wanderers?
Friday, 5 March 2010
Black pink E2 is a youngster from one of my nests located some five miles away whilst the other black pink 29 is from a nest not monitored by me.
Thursday, 4 March 2010
This bird was tagged black black A, it hatched in 2008 near Craven Arms, Shropshire.
If black A finds a mate it may build a nest in the area but, I doubt they will be successful this year.
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Birds being seen in pairs all over the place and some regulars are back in their nest tree or guarding it from a nearby perch.
Friday, 5 February 2010
Monday, 1 February 2010
Also present were purple 55 and black H5.
At Talsarn today:red y
yellow 05; 07
pink 08; 31;38; 45;56;
Sunday, 24 January 2010
When the food was delivered there was the usual surge by the corvids and Buzzards and even the three Grey Heron dropped in for a snack before departing to the adjacent field. After a short while the kites arrived about less than a hundred, they were still very nervous as they swooped down for a quick feed and away they remained on the wing drifting around the periphery of the site before repeating the situation several times. They did not perch in the nearby trees.
The black kite appeared during these visits displaying to the normal high standard, then spectator numbers drastically reduced at about 1440hrs. A tick had been obtained! Chris Powell was relatively happy as the augmented spectator numbers helped him cover the increased costs involved with the higher prices caused by a shortage of meat.
The greatest spectacle was around 1600hrs when most of the visitors had dissipated, the kites returned in greater numbers circa two hundred and fifty, providing another fantastic spectacle but, still they were reluctant to perch!
What is causing this unusual behaviour? I have never experienced this previously. I was at my normal vantage point, the only one on the spectator bank.
I eventually managed to read all the tags visible, nine compared with the expected thirty plus. All were tagged in Wales:-
Thursday, 21 January 2010
On the way over there we saw a kestrel hunting on the last big bend at Cwmergyr.
So here are my efforts.
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
green 20 and another green which wouldn't reveal its symbol.
yellow domino 2 dots high right, low left
orange/orange R Unfortunately this old bird looks more bedraggled than the others with wet matted feathers on its upper back. It was alert and flew around when the others did but had a bit of trouble establishing a secure foothold on its twig. I shall keep an eye on it.
No sign of feeding going on in spite of the queue in the beech tree!
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Monday, 18 January 2010
Liz, great news that Orange/Orange R has made it through the big freeze as it isn't from Yorkshire (as its tags would initially suggest) but a real old timer from mid-Wales and is now the oldest recorded BTO ringed Red Kite! The current listed record stands at 20 years 1 month and 15 days but this bird has already exceeded that. Featured in the last issue of Boda Wennol, it was ringed on 19th June 1989 by Peter Davis & myself in a nest near Rhandirmwyn. It was picked up near Tregaron with a minor wing injury in August 2009 and after a short spell in care at our Rehabilitation Centre at Gigrin Farm was released on 27th September 2009 at Pont Einon, Tregaron (with a new set of wing-tags in their original colours). I'm really pleased to hear its still alive and look forward to trying to find where it nests so that we can keep a closer eye on it. The oldest recorded wild Red Kite ever was a German bird at 25 years and 5 months.
Black/Purple 52, Black/Pink F6, Black/Black 34, Black/Black 98, Black/Yellow A4.
There was also a raven there with a colour ring on the the right tarsi. I think the ring was a pale green colour it was quite difficult to read the alpha/numeric symbols but it may have been 'OA' or 'QA'? Tony - over to you!
The still present black kite had obviously attracted 'birders' from all over Wales and the hides were pretty well packed by 1pm! Estimated no's of kites were 300-400. Couple of herons came down for food to.
Saturday, 16 January 2010
Friday, 15 January 2010
Thursday, 14 January 2010
The kites are so desperate for food they are swooping around her when she enters the feed area. She is putting the feed out in a long line to reduce the danger of kite on kite collisions. Over 200 kites are depending on her station so well done that girl!
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
The situation goes from bad to worse having found a dead kite (pink 'b') yesterday evening and another this morning (pink 'f') following the one I found on Saturday morning despite trying supplementary feeding. They say bad things come in threes so I really hope this is the last of the run. Again, I don't think they were suspicious, no indication of shooting and both crops seemed empty with breast bones protruding suggesting they weren't in top condition so I didn't report to PSNI, I'll try and get these two post mortemed as well. All the birds were found at known roosts or in trees with dense cover.
I've attached photos, of each.
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Monday, 11 January 2010
In addition to the tags recorded by Elfyn listed below, Chris Wells observed the following wing tags between 1335 and 1610:- Black/ Pink F6; Black/Black O; Black/Black 53; Black/Black N; Black/Yellow 12; Black/Black 12; Black/Green V; Black/Green L6; Black/Purple 35; Black/Pink E; Black/Orange 65; Black/Yellow A8; Black/Yellow S; Black/Green 73; Black/Green 14; Black/Black N8; Black/Yellow P1; Black/Purple A9; Black/Green *; Black/Pink PO; Black/ Yellow 38; Black/Pink L9; Black/Pink 29; Black/Purple 11.
Black/Pink 53, Black/Orange 51 (leucistic), Black/Pink L2, Black/Pink 69, Black/Purple C, Black/Pink E3, Black/Green 77, Black/Orange 42, Black/Green 14, Black/Purple 52.
Observer - Elfyn Pugh