Tuesday, 17 July 2012

That's got to be over 100 in Kite years!

We have a new longevity record for a Welsh ringed kite, at 8,723 days or about six weeks under 24 years.
HT27208 was ringed as a single chick in a nest near Ffarmers in Carmarthenshire on 17th June 1988 and was also tagged White H. It weighed 860gm, and was subsequently sexed as a female from the blood sample collected at the same time. She was found freshly dead on 5th May 2012 at near Harford which is about 9.5km SSW of where she was reared.

There is quite a long list of tag sightings in the early years. In the first winter she was seen at Ty'n-domen, Tregaron (the original Red Kite feeding station set up by Frances Evans)  (8,5km N) on nine occasions between 21st November 1988 and 1st March 1989. In the first summer she was at Cwm Ystwyth (26km NNE) on 16th May 1989  and she was recorded there again in her third winter on 14th January 1991

In her third summer she was fouind breeding near Pumsaint, 9km S of the birthplace and reared a brood of two.
She bred again at the same place in 1992, rearing a single chick. She had a new mate, a tagged bird from near Cwrt-y-cano, HT27225, also reared in 1988. She had now lost one tag. She could have bred at the same place in 1993, but if so had lost both tags, and there were no further tag readings. Of course it's now pretty obvious that she must have continued to breed in the area for many more years. This bird beats the previous longevity record by about six weeks. That was a male HW08418 which was ringed near Pontrhydfendigaid in 1968 and which died near  Tregaron, probably in mid-March 1992.

Thanks to Peter Davis for the above information. Amazingly, I can still remember tagging this bird as I'm pretty sure there was a Kestrel's nest lower down in the same tree!