Thursday, 28 March 2013

you never know what you might see....

A beautiful morning here in west Wales ( although the ground is frozen and that east wind is still blowing) so I ventured onto my Kite patch to view some courtship and cruising over the lambing paddocks.  Farmers on the edge of the hills still lamb at traditional times i.e. late March and in the open which gives the chance of some tasty after-births being available plus the sheep churn up the ground allowing some all-important worming.  I was enjoying great views of 4 pairs of kite and a tagged interloper performing against the snowy hills when flying towards me was a long-winged raptor without a forked osprey flew low overhead and onwards to the NE, perhaps going to one of the Welsh nest sites.  Several have been seen recently in Ceredigion and its possible the east winds have pushed them further west than usual or we might be their preferred flight path.  If my photographer hadn't been detailed to make some emergency nestbox front panels (great spots damage) I might have been able to post a pic.

Apologies for truncating the photos on the post below: visit for full pics.

Kites at Gigrin

Counting Kites

With the cold weather putting stop to most activities, a trip to Gigrin seemed to be in order to check on the number of Kites visiting, and to try and read as many wing-tags as possible. The most effective way of getting the tag numbers seems to be, by taking photographs. After a very cold hour in the hide, we managed to come away with 19 different tagged birds.

****UPDATE ****

We went to Gigrin again today (27th March) and read 34 tagged birds making a total of 44 individual kites over the two days. The oldest bird was 17 years old and the breakdown of the ages of the others were as follows;

1996 - 1
2003 - 2
2004 - 4
2005 - 1
2006 - 3
2007 - 2
2008 - 5
2009 - 7
2010 - 4
2011 - 13
2012 - 2

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Sad find

Bri is 168cm
The road from Pontrhydfendigaid to Aber is not very busy so traffic flies along relying on an empty road only this time there was something in the way...a red kite.  This pic is to show its size and the left wing is not even straight out! The minimum wingspan quoted in BWP is 195cm.
I think it looks a bit pale so is it a immature bird Tony?
Its middle toe excluding claw was 30mm: male?
It has been taken for analysis to check for poisons which can impair its reaction time thus making it more liable to be biffed by a vehicle.
I also removed a couple of feathers for WKT's on-going DNA study.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Irish kite on Ramsey Island

Greg and Lisa, RSPB wardens on Ramsey Island off the coast of Pembrokeshire,have just reported a blue/white tagged kite on the island.  This will be one of the 2011 chicks from Wales but without the tag symbol we can't say from which release site but certainly its from Ireland. Not the first Welsh kite to come back!
If you are a birdblog reader then the blogs from all four Welsh islands are excellent, Skomer,Skokholm, Ramsey and Bardsey.
Skokholm has set up Heligoland traps and is about to be re-instated as a Bird Observatory.  It was the first in the UK set up in 1933 by the famous Ronald Lockley, but was closed down in 1976.
All the islands except Ramsey offer accommodation in the summer and the experience cannot be rated highly enough as this Irish kite attests!  

Friday, 15 March 2013

Kite tag

A walk around Tyn y Craig plantation to view the Ystwyth valley from above brought me adjacent to a small upland mire being contested by a pair of buzzards and a pair of kites.  Fortunately they didn't get aggressive but clearly boundaries were being marked and claim laid to a patch of suitable trees.  Through the scope I could read the tag as one kite briefly touched down in the marshy grassland; it subsequently flew around examining the grasses clutched in its feet.  They all looked spectacular sunlit against a lightly snow- dusted landscape of hills and woods.
Royal Blue 08