written and posted by members of Lancashire Dead Good Poets' Society

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Wild Side - Red Kites

15:05:00 Posted by lancashire dead good poets , , , , , , , 2 comments

     One of the things I like so much when staying in the lodge at Dumfries and Galloway is the     abundance of woodland animals. It’s so relaxing to watch the rabbits at play or the birds that come to the feeders we provide when we are there. Foxes and deer tend to keep their distance, too timid to roam close to the buildings. Usually, its night time when we might be treated to a glimpse of one or the other, caught in our headlights as we drive slowly along the narrow lane. Deer tend to be in pairs or small groups. They leap into the hedges or bushes as we approach, but not before we’ve had a brief moment to admire them. A fox will hunt alone, stalking rabbits and rodents to catch to feed his family.  Once, I was horrified to witness a fox snatch a rabbit from close to the lodge and run towards the woods, carrying the lifeless creature. It is nature, prey and predators.

The lodge is close to Galloway Forest Park. Within the huge expanse of carefully  managed woodlands, there are conservation areas for otters, red squirrels and deer. And lots of birds, especially the red kite. The first time I saw one, we were sharing binoculars focussing on a herd of deer, willing them to come close enough for a photograph. The red kite swooped to the ground in front of us, black tipped white wings and forked tail with the distinctive rusty-red colouring across the body and into the white feathers, spanning about two feet. I was fascinated. I’d never seen a bird of prey close-up in its own environment before and this was beautiful. They are protected and looked after. I found information from the RSPB and this paragraph from the Galloway Kite Trail.  

“Red kites have been congregating at Bellymack Hill Farm since 2001 when they were reintroduced to Galloway. This is partly due to the prevailing SW winds which create updrafts from the hillside, enabling kites to ride effortlessly over the farm. Since 2003 the feeding has allowed visitors to get close firsthand experiences of these gregarious birds when they come in to spectacularly snatch food provided for them.”

Our visit to the farm was breath-taking and a haven for proper photographers with sophisticated equipment. My shots are a combination of Olympus compact and mobile phone.

     Going on safari is not my thing. Galloway Forest is as wild as it gets for me.  
 Thanks for reading, Pam x



Adele said...

I saw one over Staining a few years ago. I wondered whether it was migrating. Lovely sight.

Steve Rowland said...

Twenty years ago Red Kites were reintroduced into the Chilterns (Buckinghamshire) and within a decade they had multiplied and spread. I lived in Hemel Hempstead at the time and Red Kites circling overhead became quite a common and very beautiful sight.