Tuesday, December 27, 2011

20 Red kites. Yes, 20.

Happy Yule.
Hasn't December been mild?!
Third mildest Christmas since before time began apparently.
It's great to be home, as always - for many reasons, but I guess the only reason people reading this blog are interested in are the birdy reasons - so best get to it.

First morning home (Dec 24th), I kid you not - the first birds I saw low over our house, whilst havin a brew:
6 Red kites (circling)
2 Buzzards (circling)
3 Sparrowhawks (seemed to be playing in the air together?)

Today (Dec 27th, don't ask me what actual day it is, I'm in that happy, dream like state where what day it is doesn't actually matter), low over the house:
20 RED KITES, yes, as in, TWENTY RED KITES,
joined by 2 low soaring Buzzards and a Kestrel.
CRAZY.
I was supposed to be going to Leeds with my bro but he knew better once he saw what was happening and settled back to watching Bullseye repeats whilst I ran outside.

I thought seeing 6 Red kites the first day back was astounding enough, but to see 20 Red kites, at the same time was a bit surreal to be honest.
Especially when the 2 Buzzards came to join the gliding party and then a Kestrel - everything was just gliding around without a care in the world - it was a lot of Raptor to take in.
I tried to get some of the Vision on video, but the raptors were all too close (nice complaint) and circling directly overhead didn't make videoing easy whilst handholding my 500mm lens.
So I mostly just watched.
I did manage some video footage when they flew further away, but this computer has seen better days (years), and is sulking/ crashing/ billowing smoke on video uploads, so going to stick with these few photos before it has a complete meltdown.

Like I mentioned, the weather has been great, so I've been walking the fields everyday - without fail seeing Red kites, Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and Kestrels.
Also seen Jay, Wren, Robin, Chaffinches, Herring gulls, BH gulls, flock of LTT's, Great tits, blue tits, Blackbirds, Pheasants and a flock of geese today - not sure what type.
These pics are a few I took of a young Red kite and young Buzzard

Juvenile Red kite, home, Yorkshire (white tips to coverts = juv)

Red kite - you can see it caught  little worm and has it in its claws

Red kite snacking mid air

Red kite eating a worm mid air.

Despite seeing all these raptors, especially Red kites, I've never actually seen one close up and stationary, until today - and suprisingly it was the more human wary buzzard I got close to.
This sighting was late in the day, well, by winter standards, about 3.30pm and it was very dark already - so I've lightened this image to highlight the detail.

The closest I've ever seen a Buzzard. Beautiful Christmas jumper

Buzzard, home, Yorkshire

I think this is a young Buzzard.

Blurry I know, but I've never seen a Buzzards eyes before.

I managed a video of the Buzzard, but will have to upload another time.
The Buzzard stayed on the pylon for quite a while, happy enough with me below taking photos, eventually the Leeds to Harrogate train went by and the Buzzard flew off.
Great day.

In case I don't get on here again before Thursday, there looks to be an amazing 6 part series called 'Earthflight' starting this Thursday on BBC 1 at 8pm. I'm sure you can look up the trailer for a preview, the filming looks incredible.
If you do get to watch it, let me know if it was any good - I'll be watching the life story of Hilary Devey over on BBC2.
:o)