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.

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