As previously mentioned, this weekend was the first attempt at an all-Wales co-ordinated kite count at all the known feeding stations. Counts being done elsewhere in Europe have focused on communal roosts, but roosts here are generally small and well-dispersed so this isn't practical.
Counts at the major feeding stations were as follows;
Gigrin Farm 8th Jan. 360 (Tony Cross & Richard Barrett)
Pont Einon, Tregaron 8th Jan 91 - 100 (Liz & Brian Snell)
Talsarn, 8th Jan. 190 (Terry & Sue Reeves)
Talsarn, 9th Jan. 250 - 300 (Liz & Brian Snell)
Llanddeusant, 9th Jan. 58 (John Roberts)
Near Sennybridge (Roost) 9th Jan. 14 (John Roberts)
Near Crymych, 9th Jan. 45 (Paddy Jenks)
Ysbyty Ifan, 9th Jan. (Roost) 1 (Rhodri Dafydd)
Bala, 9th Jan. (Roost) 0 (Dafydd Roberts)
The all-Wales total therefore was 1189 - 1326.
The Welsh Kite Trust recently estimated the Welsh population to be around 3,000, 2,000 breeding birds and at least 1,000 none breeding birds. These results show the importance of feeding stations to the kite in Wales. If counts had been conducted during the worst of the winter weather in mid-December I have no doubt they may have been at least 50% higher with nearly 50% of the Welsh population visiting one or other of the feeding stations on any given day!
This visit to Gigrin Farm coincided with the first co-ordinated count of kites at all the known feeding stations in Wales.
I arrived early (1o’clock), expecting see dozens of kites perched like candles on a Christmas tree whilst awaiting the arrival of the food. How wrong I was. In fact there were two or three hundred already on the wing floating like leaves in the breeze to the north of the feeding area.
Before the food was distributed I was joined by Tony Cross with the numbers of birds having increased to about three hundred and fifty. At 2.00pm Chris Powell delivered to the food to the feeding where numbers of expectant kites had increased to between four hundred and fifty and five hundred birds all converged in and around the feeding area swooping down to the ground to take a morsel of meat. Tony will hopefully have a more detailed count of the numbers present when he examines the series of rapid fire photographs he had taken.
We took the opportunity to record the wing tagged birds present and the details are below:- Black/Blue: H1; 57; 68;
Black/black: a; H4; JO; 93; 77;
Black/orange: 29; 51;
Black/purple: V3; 53;
Also present in addition to the leucistic Black/Orange 51 there was the even paler untagged bird.
This weekend, 8th/9th January, we will be attempting the first co-ordinated count of kites at all the known feeding stations in Wales to take place at 2pm. Counts will be done by both estimating numbers present but also by a series of rapid fire photographs of the feeding area soon after feeding has taken place. This census will tie in with co-ordinated communal roost counts taking place in other European Countries where kites winter. If anyone has counts of kites at 2pm on either Saturday 8th or Sunday 9th away from a feeding station but still within Wales we would be very pleased to hear