Monday, 28 March 2011

60 up and some stunning Red Kite activity

The day started well, I got up, opened the curtains and noticed a small passerine flying towards the house. I opened the window to be greeted by a calling Meadow Pipit heading north. This bird represents my 60th Garden Tick. I was really happy with this, until I heard that a Crane had been seen over Skipwith Common this morning - that would have been a far more impressive 60th! Nevermind, I won't complain if it’s 61, 62, 63... In reality I'm expecting Chiffchaff to be the next as I had one singing whilst walking the dogs this morning not too far away from the house.

Today I was up on the high ground beyond Harrogate having a very busy time of it with plenty of Golden Plover, Curlew and Lapwing all busy displaying. The air was filled with singing Skylark and Meadow Pipit more-or-less constantly all day. The off Tree Pipit and Siskin were noted about the place. A Raven was heard calling overhead but was not seen. Plenty of Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk activity was noted however the raptor highlight was certainly Red Kite. At least 3, possibly 4 birds were recorded. A bit of display flight was noted, which was cool to watch.

Red Kite © Clare Scott 2011

In the afternoon a Red Kite flight of about 45 minutes was fun to watch. This bird was noted foraging low to the ground before gaining considerable height. It then dropped down to the ground fairly quickly where it flew into a field, flushing a female Sparrowhawk off a kill (looked like a Lapwing) before circling round and landing on the Sparrowhawks kill. The Kite picked up the kill and tried flying off with it but either didn't get a grip on it, or it was too heavy as the Kite dropped it. Within seconds a Buzzard had appeared out of nowhere and took over the kill! Over the next 20 minutes the Kite flew around in a very large (c4km) flight before returning back to the kill, which had now vanished! It was considered likely that the Buzzard got it!

Red Kite © Clare Scott 2011

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