Red Kites in January

Photo: Tim Melling

Just for fun I am making a note of which days I see Red Kites this year because I often write that I see Red Kites most days and I just wanted to check whether it is true (or whether I am fooling myself) and if so, how true.

I’m not going out of my way looking for Red Kites but I am noting the sightings.

So, in the 31 days of January I have seen Red Kites on 22 days.

The gaps tend to be days spent in London when the return journey is after dark, days away from Northants and days of awful weather.

Red Kites are an important part of my life – I love to see them but I also usually watch them for a while because they are so very adept at flying.  Just south of Luton Airport Parkway station from the train is a good place to see them on my irregular journeys into London – I’m always pleased to see them there but always a bit sad that I am whizzed past them and can’t stop and stare.

There were three Red Kites just outside the bedroom window  yesterday afternoon and as I watched them a Perergine flew past – bonus!  First Peregrine for the house lst this year.  In future years maybe I’ll be recording Peregines to see whether I see them ‘all the time’ too.


18 Replies to “Red Kites in January”

  1. I remember seeing the amazing sight of red kites for the first time flying around the church in Tregaron in 1974 when I moved near there from Northamptonshire.
    Had I known I could have stayed at home and let them come to me!

  2. Here in the suburbs of Harrogate, which I am about to leave for the wilds of mid Wales, Kites fly over the house most days unless it is pouring with rain. The first are here as the light lifts first thing flying across the sky with purpose. Later birds drift around obviously looking for food, they often go down into gardens probably for put out food or to bins. I have recently had 6 together over the estate, yet I still find them so awe inspiring I nearly always stop to look.
    About ten years ago a nameless person from the MA said he had driven through Harrogate” All those dreary housing estates constantly patrolled by those bloody Kites.” All I can say is that he was and probably still is a sad bastard with no soul.

  3. My record was 22 red kite all within 100ft of each other – 6 gliding around a house and 16 roosting in the nearby tree! Beat that!

    1. I’m cheating when I tell you my record. Two groups each of 50 black kites soaring over our flat as we played tennis. On their way to migrate from a nearby roost. Mind you, used to see lots around the M40 when I lived in blighty!

  4. My record is 0 of 31. My gaps tend to be when I’m at/near home, but then I do live in the Yorkshire Dales…

    1. Steven – yes that would make it difficult although for there to be so many dead ones there must be some live ones sometimes!

  5. They don’t survive long enough round Bowland for me to see any. Just another Hooked Beak as far as they are concerned.

  6. Overhead Kites 0, Buzzards 8 (curtesy of a good thermal from a black barn roof)
    I wonder what will happen when the Kites arrive here. The scavenger niche is not empty; it provides that little bit extra that helps. While driving round one sees roadkill is well attended by magpies and other corvids. In fact I brought roadkill pheasant home after seeing a dead Buzzards and a near miss of a kestrel and finally a near miss of a Marsh Harrier.
    Buzzards are regular visitors, judging by the variation in plumage, as is the local territorial (I assume) male kestrel. The kestrel females come in February when the extra feed must be useful. This year a(?) Tawny Owl has taken up the night shift this year and is a regular visitor 2-3 time on some nights.
    Crows came early in the morning the first year when I put it on the ground but have not visited it on a feeding table, which saves the fox removing it overnight. In fact, no corvids visit it on the feeding table.
    Now if only the local shoots would use lead free shot all those unwanted pheasants could be better used.

  7. Where I live, encircled by grouse moors, I have never seen a single kite. There are many in lowland Yorkshire not far away, but they seem to stop where the moors start, funny that. If there were trees on the moors it might help.

  8. Looking forward to them more regularly getting down to Devon. Habitat seems fine and they may move in but would like them to join buzzards sooner rather than later. Would the climate be ok, they are not that common in western France?.

    1. Graham – they did OKish in Wales for a long time – as I recall, it rains in mid-Wales occasionally!

  9. I see Red Kites most days from my living room in north Oxford. I also see them regularly over my Mother-in-Law’s house in Hanney, Oxfordshire. They are, now, a very common sight in Oxfordshire, and in suburban areas, which is a minor miracle. So many other species have gone the other way.

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