- Red kites in the Chilterns
I remember back when it was all trees and fields around here (well, actually, just after the release programme, up on the Getty estate I think), it was a real thrill to see the occasional red kite on the occasional ride in the central Chilterns. Russ Pinder did a route on STW called “where the red kite flies” and I remember riding most of it a few times just to catch a glimpse or two. Then a few of them actually started appearing around Reading, and creeping into the town.
Gradually more and more started to appear…
Today I did a little 16 mile bimble just north of Reading, around Mapledurham and Tokers Green, and saw well in excess of 30 of them! I think that qualifies as a successful re-introduction.Posted 6 years agoormondroydMember
Apparently a lot of the ones in Reading don’t live in the town. They fly in from the southern Chilterns. The university had a project going where they were observing them with scopes from the roof of the Oracle shopping centre multi-storey (in fact I’ve seen it myself, towards dusk on an autumn evening… they were flying back from Tilehurst, over Waitrose and the railway line, towards the woods on the other side of the river).
I guess they fly in for pickings from gardens, takeaway shop bins, etc. Classy 🙂 But at least it explains how they might be sustaining near places like Wycombe. Dawdle around in the air doing big circles for a while, then when they get a bit peckish, off to McDonalds to nick discarded chips.
The thing that really interests me now is that there’s been such a steady growth for about a decade. Today really brought it home… they were everywhere.Posted 6 years agocinnamon_girlSubscriber
Nothing like starting a ride from Watlington village and seeing the kites encircling above the car park. 8)
They’ve really spread into Hampshire, particularly the Candover Valley, and I never tire of gawping at them!
titusrider – Marlborough you say? The Downs?Posted 6 years agobeejSubscriber
Loads around Newbury – I’ll see a few almost every ride. When I was a kid there were never birds of prey around, so I love seeing them. Having one fly alongside for a 100m or so is a bit spooky, given they eat roadkill… it’s as if they know something about cyclists on that road.Posted 6 years agospeaker2animalsSubscriber
When I’ve driven down the M40 in the past I’ve seen maybe up to 6 near to High Wycombe. I drove a friend to Heathrow on Sat and we got close to that area as it was getting light. I must have seen 20 ish along quite a stretch. I did wonder if it was the time of day, surmising that a daytime bird may find that a good time for finding nocturnal rodents who have had an extra pint and stayed up a little too late?Posted 6 years ago
The red kites introduced onto the Getty Estate were from Spanish stock as the remaining welsh population wasnt concidered big enough. Not sure where the yprkshire ones were from. Used to spend a lot of time at the Aston Rowant reserve doing botanical surveys. Sometimes having not moved for somtime i’d look up and see a few kites circling me try to see if i was dead!!Posted 6 years agoCountZeroMember
C_g, I’ve seen them in Savernake Forest, one flying over Cherhill White Horse in the direction of Calne a couple of years ago, and last year I saw one in the centre of Avebury, while I was sitting outside the pub. They are around Bristol and south towards Taunton, I saw one mobbing a buzzard at Ham Wall reserve near Glastonbury. Those are coming across the Severn from Wales, so they’re native stock.Posted 6 years agoRioSubscriber
They’re very common now around the Ivinghoe/Tring/Wendover part of the Chilterns. When the farmer harvested the field behind our house I counted 20 following the combine, presumably to catch the rodents. They also seem to have aerial fights with the local crows quite regularly, which is quite something to watch.
Sky foxes, will soon be regarded as vermin
I hope not but there have been reports in the local press of them stealing schoolchildren’s lunches, caused I suspect by the children feeding them. “Won’t someone think of the children” and all that. Also if one of them decides to crap on your car the result isn’t pretty!Posted 6 years agoIanWMember
Had ride in the Chilterns recently starting from the Watlington car park. It was my first visit and at first the Kites seemed impresive, large birds of prey, prehistoric call etc . Later when you consider the numbers of them something must be losing out. In discusion with some locals over a post ride pint they seemed a bit fed up of them too.
Any experts in the house, what do they eat?Posted 6 years agoCountZeroMember
They are scavengers, they’ll eat anything, like crows and buzzards do. I’ve often seen buzzards in fields going after earthworms, digging around in ant hills. In mediaeval times in That London they were called Shitehawks, they went after all the offal and rubbish thrown into the streets, along with the ravens. Crows don’t like them, either; I’ve watched crows mobbing ravens over the Ridgeway above Avebury. If theyre causing a problem in built-up areas it the fault of the populace for giving them easy pickings, just like gulls, kites will happily take advantage of an easy, free lunch; theyre not stupid birds. Hopefully they’ll spread further across into Wiltshire and increase the numbers here, and maybe ease the population pressure in the Chilterns.Posted 6 years ago
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