Friday, 6 December 2013

If I had a pound…..

The Tregaron Xmas Fair was another opportunity to sell kite Trust Xmas cards and 'Stuffie' (see previous post) accompanied me for a marathon 2pm to 8pm session in the refurbished Memorial Hall**  but was utterly upstaged by a toy eagle owl whose head movements and vocalisations are triggered by a movement sensor.  Uncannily these movements appear to be random and this caught the attention of young and …no I couldn't take pictures!  If I had a pound for every hoot and turn of the head I wouldn't need to sell the cards, I could give them away!  This toy owl suffered abuse from those who failed to see how it worked so it got poked, prodded, stroked and tipped ace over base….and that was just the adults present!
Fortunately, before the Duracells gave up the ghost, the Tregaron Male Voice Choir  started up with a vigorous rendition of Christmas favourites and all trooped out to see the Christmas Tree light up.
I scarpered with my many purchases of local pork sausages ( well, sort of local, seeing as the pigs came from Hungary: a curious breed of curly haired porkers called Mangalitzers) and other goodies before the children returned who wanted to take home a feather from the ever patient 'stuffie' and my owl!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Not the usual flight path!

Jenny Tillotson,President of Tregaron WI, kindly allowed the Trust to sell some Xmas cards at the fortnightly WI market in the Memorial hall Tregaron and 'Stuffie' the flying kite came along to help out…well one lady refused to enter the Hall, averse to feathers!… but others couldn't resist stroking my visual aid.
We need to sell a lot more so have a look at the website and phone,post or e-mail your orders.  Superb designs, printed and produced in Wales at £3 for 6 cards unless you want the bargain pack of mixed designs at 7 cards for £3.
If however you are in striking distance of Tregaron the big Xmas Fair will be on Dec 6th where not only can you purchase our brilliant cards but also try to win a generous prize in the simple Bird Quiz and there will be a fabulous array of cakes,jams and pickles for which the WI is rightly famed plus lots of other crafty type things.
Eat your heart out 'Bake-off'!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Welsh kite poisoned in Yorkshire


Tadcaster police and the RSPB are appealing for information after a Red Kite was poisoned in the area. The bird was found at Toulston Polo Ground, Tadcaster in October 2012, by a member of the public who contacted Yorkshire Red Kites, who in turn reported the suspected poisoning to North Yorkshire Police.
Following a post-mortem examination and forensic testing it was found to have died from the illegal poison Carbofuran, which was banned in 2001. The RSPB have offered a £1,000 reward for anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and charging of those responsible for the bird's death.
Between 2002 and 2011, there were 292 confirmed cases of birds of prey being killed by Carbofuran poisoning in England. PC Sarah Ward of Tadcaster Safer Neighbourhood Team said: "This crime is appalling. The use of Carbofuran is both unlawful and highly dangerous. It is highly toxic and a few granules could kill. Someone has put Carbofuran into the countryside unlawfully, risking the lives of people, domesticated animals and wildlife. I urge anyone with information to contact the police or RSPB immediately."
The Red Kite that died was hatched in Wales in 2009 and is believed to be one of a breeding pair that first bred at Tadcaster Grammar School in 2012. They are the first-known Welsh-born Red Kites to have bred in Yorkshire.
Red Kite
Red KiteHarrogate, North Yorkshire (Photo: Rob Sewell)
Bob Elliot, RSPB Head of Investigations, said: "Since their successful release back into the Yorkshire countryside in 1999, Red Kites have suffered at the hands of illegal poisoning in North Yorkshire with this incident being the twentieth poisoned Kite since 2000." Mr Elliot added: "Birds of prey are still being targeted by those intent on killing our most protected species and it is simply not acceptable to still be finding poisoned, trapped and shot raptors in our countryside."
Doug Simpson, Yorkshire Red Kites Coordinator, said: "The loss of any bird through illegal poisoning is a big disappointment. It is particularly disappointing in this case, with this kite being of Welsh origin and the first from that source known to have bred in Yorkshire."
Anyone who can help to identify those responsible for this poisoning should contact Tadcaster police on 101, select option 2 and ask for Sarah Ward. You can also contact the RSPB on 0845 4663636 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Help needed

The Kite Trust needs to sell quite a few Xmas Cards this Autumn!  If anyone out there lives in West Wales ideally within reach of Aberystwyth,Tregaron or Rhyader and would like to help us please contact me on 01974 299166 or e-mail the Trust via the website.  If you live somewhere else in Wales and have an outlet for selling cards we would most grateful if you would contact me on the above number or the WKT via the website.

We also have some OVERSTOCKS of C5 plain WHITE ENVELOPES.  If anyone has a use for these they are available at a very special price.  Phone me on 01974 299166


Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Back to kites

At the moment kite watchers are anxiously checking the nests for chicks.  Most are quite small being a late season and on my patch a couple of regularly successful pairs have failed at a late stage; annoyingly I have no idea why and unlike my blue tits there are no nestcams looking down on them.
Yesterday I gained permission to enter a local oakwood  and looking up through the sunlit leaves I could clearly see a large brown raptor hard at work: a shower of  black feathers indicated that a chick was going to be fed 'corvid tartare'. Unfortunately the bird in the kite nest had the wrong shaped tail and the nest was ringed with fresh oak leaves....my heart sank as I realised the aerial battle I'd seen in April had been won by the buzzard.
Just at that moment a familiar whistling flew in on my left and grew more persistent as I quickly legged it up the slope; yes, result!  A downy kite chick in a new nest not far away from buzz.  Dilemma: adult whistling itself hoarse and landowner in the farmyard not 200m away...will he be cross about the disturbance?  I didn't stop to scope it for a better look even though I really needed to check whether the other whitish blob in the nest was a dead 2nd chick or sheep's wool judging it better to make a quick and clearly seen exit for the benefit of both bird and farmer's feelings!
Some kites make a lot of noise during nest visits and some don't; the recorded evidence is that kites change nest locations after a failure to bring up a chick or having lost a partner or if the tree and/or immediate surroundings have altered or even, as in this case, another bird such as buzz or raven has taken over the nest.  Many nests where the chicks have been regularly  ringed and tagged have remained in use for years indicating that purposeful visits are tolerated; in this instance,however,I judged brevity was the best course of action.  15 mins from gate to wood and back to gate.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Scottish kite nr Aber!

Gareth Jones, mammal expert and tag reader spotted a single tagged kite among a dozen or so hunting over  freshly cut silage : PURPLE on the LEFT wing ! White on the right. T6 was the code. My out of date kite tag guide says this is Aberdeen's colour code.
Will post further details when I can get them.
Silaging provides good opportunities for tag reading as they fly slow and low over the fields.  Gareth also reported the kites standing on the ground with wings partly spread as though sun-bathing.  This is I think fairly unusual...anyone out there with any experience of this?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Unashamed advert for Hungarian Raptorfest!

We have just returned from Hungary and these pics of a red footed falcon and kestrel colony are to show what is possible if you book a unique photo hide tour with Ecotours based in Hungary.  As raptor enthusiasts it was sheer joy to be party to 5 hours of life with these beautiful birds albeit starting at 5am.  The kestrel pics are especially to cheer up Paddy: there are hundreds of kestrels on the Puszta  just 2 hours from Budapest and for this experienced pair of birds no shortage of food, the chicks were fed 2 voles and a huge green lizard in quick succession and as you can see you don't even need to put up a straight box!
The light was poor (Hungary,unusually has endured a cold wet Spring) and the hide draughty but it was non-stop action from the birds which also included breeding Rollers,Golden orioles and Long eared owls!  We couldn't however take our eyes off the red foot female who is a real beauty, no wonder the males are so willing to share parental duties though both sitting in the box before an egg is laid is going a bit far!
Bri has just started photography so if you are an expert you can see the possibilities here and if you just like watching bird behaviour then this is a must.
The off-road drive to the hide was quite exciting plus climbing into the hide!  Elf and safety? I trusted in Istvan Bartol, warden of the Kiskunsagi Nemzeti National Park, he built it!  www.ecotourswildlife.co.uk