Following the comments from Elfyn on Monday regarding the feeding regime at the Nant yr Arian Feeding Station I visited today to observe the Kite behaviour. Some 120 kites came in at the appointed time. The quantity of feed being dispensed was about 10 kilos- all good quality meat. The birds cleared a lot within the first 10 minutes or so but meat was still around after half an hour - with the odd bird dropping in. If the birds were short of feed they would have cleared the lot!
The number of birds present today, of which only a few were tagged, was a lot higher than normal at this time of year - perhaps reflecting a greater input of juveniles from last year's successful breeding. The general shortage of food on the hills as a result of the hard winter and current cold spell must also be having an effect. The agri - environment schemes which remove all livestock from the uplands from October to April must lead to a shortage of carrion, whether it be carcasses or 'afterbirths'. Hence the increasing dependency on the feeding stations. Also this may well have an effect on the the breeding success of the upland kite population, a matter which the WKT are aware of and are monitoring - thanks to all the help from the 'nest-watchers' who contribute to this scheme.