Red Kites in my 2018

This year, the departing 2018, I’ve kept a note of whether I see Red Kites each day. The December tally was 20 days out of 31.

January: 22 days out of 31.

February: 24 days out of 28.

March: 26 days out of 31.

April: 20 days out of 30.

May: 7 days out of 31

June: 0 days out of 30 (there are no Red Kites in North America!)

July: 14 days out of 31

August: 16 days out of 31

September: 12 days out of 30

October: 24 days out of 31

November: 18 days out of 30

That makes 204 out of 365 overall.

Given that I was out of the country, and out of the world range of the Red Kite for about 50 days, and in London all day quite a lot of days too, and some days it pours with rain, I’d ‘guesstimate’ that I see Red Kites approximately two days out of three when I might have the chance.  This is not quite an everyday bird, but it’s most certainly an everyweek bird for those of use living in East Northants.

When I first moved to this small rural town, in 1987, the idea of seeing Red Kites so often was not in my head, and the English reintroduction scheme which started in 1989 was being thought about but had not started.  The last 30 years have brought the Red Kite back to so many skies and introduced it to so many lives.

Schoolchildren here in Northants see Red Kites above their playgrounds at play-time – indeed it sometimes feels as though the Red Kites are attracted to the playgrounds at those times by the sight of so many small mammals running around, and the children grow up with Red Kites as part of their lives and part of their memories unlike their parents and grandparents when they were children. No-one missed Red Kites because no-one remembered them being here, but if they were ripped out of the skies again then people, many, many, many people, would be angered and saddened by their loss.

The Red Kite is a fantastic conservation success story to which many individuals and organisations contributed.  Let us use 2019 and the years ahead to bring back more species that have gone missing and which would bring joy to people’s lives.

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4 Replies to “Red Kites in my 2018”

  1. Happy New year to you and Rosemary,we are so lucky perhaps in Dorset even more so than other areas in the number of species of birds we see that as a youngster I never thought we would see.Thanks to RSPB,some great individual people plus several species just taken up residence in the UK.Sadly Raptors on grouse moors still a big problem and maybe the young Conservationists will eventually get the success their efforts deserve..
    That is not to ignore the efforts being made by the older generation just think it is a long drawn out campaign that will eventually succeed.

  2. Its hard to believe that until the early nineties I had seen very few Kites and yet since they have become a common ( but never commonplace) experience either in my old home of North Yorkshire, despite the shooting fraternity criminals and here in mid Wales. It is a marvellous conservation success story. I don’t know how many I’ve seen this year but will keep count in 2019. Red Kites are close to supplanting Hen Harrier, Honey Buzzard or Goshawk as my most favoured raptor
    ( no not really but they are so elegant and relatively fearless). A happy new year to all Kite lovers everywhere.

  3. My aunt says that red kites have started turning up in the New Forest, and she thinks buzzard numbers may have declined slightly which is interesting. Red kites were reintroduced to a site not that very far away from me in 1996, yet they are still very rare visitors to Falkirk. There’s a fair amount of pheasant shooting between here and there and that might be a factor in them not spreading as quickly as I thought they would. Certainly in Scotland there must be scope for further red kite reintroductions in the central belt as far away from shooting estates as possible. A sad and infuriating thought that if the 1989 red kite reintroduction had been on the outskirts of Falkirk rather than the Black Isle we might have had a solid population between Glasgow and Edinburgh and beyond by now. Anyway Happy New Year!!!!

  4. Am I missing something, or did you really miss out November in your totals Mark?

    A single day with a kite sighting for me in December.
    My yearly recap…January 0, February 2, March 0, April 2, May 0, June 1, July 0, August 2, September 1, October 0, November 1. Maximum of 2 days in any month. Five months without a sighting. An average of less than one kite day per month (.83).

    Other December raptor sightings in decreasing order, BZ 29 out of 31, SH 21, HH 12, EA 11, WE 6, PE 3, K 5, GI 1.

    Happy New Year.

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