Saturday, 19 February 2011


On Thursday, 17th February, I again went to roost site near Painscastle, and came away with an opinion that confirms my view that you not second guess nature.

Expecting to see a dozen or so birds I once counted six in the air that drifted away to the north. These were eventually replaced by three single birds as the light was fading. One of these was the Black Black L3 as sighted the previous week.

Black L3 was hatched in 2008 as the youngest of three chicks, probably a male, near Bishops Castle, Shropshire. This being some forty six kilometres from the night roost. Black L3 has been seen twice previously, both by Tony Cross, in November, 2008 at Gigrin Farm Feeding Station.

Unlike my previous visit, the birds roosted in the wood I first suspected to be the roost site, not on the other side of the valley.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Patience = Result But With a Twist.

I have had an inkling for some time that there was a Red Kite roost site in my east Radnorshire patch but, when I went to check I failed to find positive proof. Two or three birds would be present in the area - these would always disappear before it got dark. On one occasion a single bird remained and spent the night in the wood.

Yesterday, 10th February, I went on a grey day with leaden skies and intermittent drizzle to observe the possible site. There were eight birds floating around perching for a short while on nearby hawthorn trees that before resuming to the wing, this enabled me to read two tags. Pink E2 (2009) hatched some 6 kilometres to the North West and Black L3 (2008) (details are in the post Confused) This is not a bird from one of the nest in my areas.

At about 4:230pm the intensity of the rain increased and the birds disappeared out of sight into the low cloud over the hill.

I returned to the location near Painscastle today where I was only to see birds intermittently. The birds from two known nests on the opposite side of the valley were showing but, there was little evidence to support my theory concerning a possible roost. The resident birds would drift towards and over their respective sections of woodland and return to the possible roost and beyond.

I was close to conceding defeat but, determined to prove or disprove my theory I remained as the skies darkened. It was now after 5:00pm, eleven Common Buzzard were in the air, these were joined by a single Red Kite, then another, then another. Then, I realised the numbers were not increasing as more and more Kites joined the party. The Buzzard numbers were reducing as the kite numbers increased! These raptors for a minute or two were engulfed by a flock of Jackdaw, the corvids went their own way down the valley.

There were ten red kite floating over the woodland surely they would soon drift down and find perches in the woodland. Twice a single kite went into the wood, perched and almost immediately came back out. Had I found the roost?

The ten kites were gliding around gradually gaining height above the wood. Then, one of the birds peeled away heading in my direction followed by another, then another. I had seen this situation many times in the Middle East as the European raptors rise from the overnight roosts in the mornings during their southerly migration to Africa.

I observed the birds drifting in Indian file across the valley and disappear into the wood occupied last year by one of the resident breeding pairs.
I had found the roost but, not where I expected it to be.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Another Roost Visit

I had a disappointing time at the roost Tuesday (9th February,) there were only thirteen (13) birds in the roost that included one tagged bird Black G and one other adult. There were eleven (11) sub adult birds.
Presumably, the tagged birds observed previously have either returned to their breeding territories or found alternative roosting areas. Ornithology is not an exact science.
As is frequently the case, the disappointment had already been offset by watching a displaying pair of Goshawk prior to reaching the vantage point to observe the roost.
Shortly afterward leaving the roost site, a pair of Tawny Owls observed perched on a branch sticking out from the hedgerow was a bonus.

breeding pairs

Since Jan 8 the pair close to the house have been in attendance on an every other day basis , which by 28th became a daily event. Since 2 Feb they have been roosting close to the nest also, and Tuesday the 8th I observed the pair repairing and adding to the nest. On this basis I visited 2 other nests and found pairs either perched near to and flying close to their nests. This is some 2 weeks earlier than what I have observed in the past. The 3 pairs are old hands not first year pairs. Indication of an early breeding season or something else?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

An Update

Further to the previous posting concerning the locating of a Herefordshire roost, today, 2nd February, 2011, I again visited and observed seventeen (17) birds. Three of these were tagged in the Principality.

They were Orange 30, Black G and Orange 59.

Orange 30 was observed previously as were the details earlier in the blog.

Orange 59 was ringed in John Roberts' patch in June 2005 at Llanddeusant. The bird has not been reported since leaving the natal nest.

Black G was ringed also in John Roberts' patch in June 2008 near Crai, Sennybridge. The bird has not been reported since leaving the natal nest.

Another First in Herefordshire

Following the receipt of an email last week advising that a number of birds were seen together late in the afternoon, I have located the first known roost site in Herefordshire. It is located fairly close to the border with Shropshire.

I first located the roost in a row of trees on Sunday, 30th January, 2011, when fifteen (15) birds were located but, I was unable to read any of the three tags seen.

I must thank Barney and Tom for passing on the information that helped me to locate the roost.

I returned the following day when I was able to read three tags from a different vantage point. The tags all of Welsh origin were orange h, orange 30 and black A5.

I know all about orange h as it hatched in 2005, being one of two chicks by the pair that nested the previous year (2004) for the first time in Herefordshire since the mid 1850’s. This brood was in a different nest to that used by the adults the previous year. The roost is about eight (8) kilometres from the natal nest.

The bird found a female mate and in 2007 they reared two chicks near Craven Arms, Shropshire, in 2008 they reared three and 2009 reared three. In 2010 female died on eggs.

Orange 30 was reared from a brood of two near Tregaon in 2005; there have not been any sighting reports since leaving the natal nest.

Black A5 was reared in 2008 near Machynlleth; also there have not been any sighting reports since leaving the natal nest.

These sightings raise a number of questions, where have these two birds been since leaving the nest?

Will orange h find a new mate and nest in the same area?

Has orange 30 nested in one of the two English counties and if so where?

Will black A5 remain in the general area and find a mate and make a nest?

Will other tagged birds visit the roost site?

Only time and many hours of observations may reveal the answers.