I am quite a relaxed and docile chap. I dont see red very often.
Red kites – they are in my top 5 favourites list. Elegant and streamlined (except if they are routing around in a rubbish tip). Now, being a Zomerset lad I haven't seen that many. Kites seem to have an aversion to our area. Sure, I know they pass through but they don’t stay. Its, strange as I quite like the surroundings. My feathered quarry obviously is not so keen.
Reading the various postings on the Somerset Ornithological society message board it appears that although still not a common sight, Kites are increasing in number around these ere parts. Unfortunately I seem to be the only person who hasn’t seen one of late. Indeed I have only ever seen 3 Red Kites in the county (all on the same day – two above The Who’d Thought pub it in Glastonbury. Indeed who the hell would of thought it!)
That was over a year ago. Since then, absolutely nothing. A few days ago a very nice chap posted on twitter saying that 2 Kites were in fields around Coxley (2 minutes from my house). I hopped into the car, drove around a bit, found some crows, buzzards and gulls (I wont say seagulls as Andrew will get upset). But no Kites.
Last night I headed down to Westhay. Something told me I was going to get lucky. Traveling along the windy roads through Godney I noticed that there was lots of grass cutting going on. Also I was upwind of the god awful chicken factory so the stench of sweaty poultry was kept to a minimum. So i decided to pull up and have a good scan. Gulls, Crows and a Buzzard or two. I took a few shots and faffed about with various camera settings only to realise that a beautiful Buzzard flew right over my head. It would have made a cracking shot...
Slightly miffed I got back into the car and carried on. Still no Kites.
I traveled slowly to Westhay, not through choice but a lycra clad cyclist absolutely refused to pull over. At this point I did see red but definitely not a kite. After the slowest journey in the world I finally arrived.
The sun was shining and everything looked rather nice. I made a beeline for the raised platform. Imeediately a stunning female Marsh harrier was right in front of the hide. In a panic I reached for my camera, hit record and missed everything in a truly momentous moment of uselessness.
Again I was seeing red.
Not a Red kite but nice all the same. It was much closer but I messed it right up.
Settling in I noticed a colourful flash, a Kingfisher. Brief but very pleasant all the same. Then I noticed a greyish bird, which I took to be a Sparrowhawk fly behind a tree. Looked around with my bins but couldn’t see anything until it flew again. A cuckoo! I have seen more this year than I ever have in previous years. Things were getting better now.
A Male and the female harrier were flying distantly and interacted a few times. Utterly magnificent birds which i never tire of seeing. We are really lucky to have these here and I hope the continue to do well.
I scanned the trees and found another cuckoo. The wind had got up a bit and he was being thrown all over the place but didn’t want to fly. I even managed to get the scope out in time and he provided me with some excellent views. Through the scope I could appreciate the colouration and pattern much more thoroughly. They really are slightly odd critters and their call is a little bit spooky when you are sat amongst the reeds all by yourself...
A family of Moorhen created some entertainment as the chicks plopped about uncertain of what to do.
You can go first....
A little brown job was flying about the place and paused for a quick picture. Looks nice, I think its a Reed warbler.
Then a Little egret started a bit of fishing.
Only one Hobby today unfortunately.
As the sun started to give up the ghost I drove home, passed the chicken perspiration. No kites in evidence. When I arrived home I had a look on the SOS website. Someone had seen a Kite in Glastonbury and Cheddar. I still haven’t seen red...