Saturday, 20 February 2010

Kite Bonanza At Gigrin Farm

I've not visited the Red Kite feeding station at Gigrin Farm in mid Wales since Nov 1998...when I was just 13! And the Black Kite which has been their since Christmas has been severely irritating my one remaining twitching gland. So yesterday, to the shock of many, I went...

I collected fellow AERG member Barrie from Merriott at 09:30, and drove us north. The drive through Wales was spectacular, with snow all around us....

...simply stunning

We arrived at Gigrin at 12:20, there was only snow here on the top of the hills to the south of the farm. After a bite to eat and a mooch about, we headed for the hides...

Check out Barrie's mega camera!

There were Kites loafing about already, even the hoped for Black Kite made an appearance for five minutes from about 13:30. But at 14:00, that's when this happens....


Which in turn, leads to this....


And here's a quick video to show how it looks...

video

After the first few Crows and Buzzards drop in to feed, the mayhem REALLY begins!

The Buzzards are nice and obliging and sit on the ground to feed....


Whereas the Kites don't land! This is a typical photo of Red Kites getting food...

They are so fast!!!

Though one did briefly forget what it was...

Gotcha! This is the only time I actually saw one land on the ground, and it only stayed there for about two seconds!

The third reason I came to Gigrin was to test how my Lumix is with flying targets. The ever changing weather made it a little more challanging, with sunshine, dark clouds, light clouds and even some snow during feeding time! Anyway, here's a few of my favourite Red Kite shots...

I took over 400 photos in all!!!

There was also this striking bird...

Is this an Iceland Gull?

So what of the Black Kite I hear you ask? Well as I said earlier, it gave us a brief showing early on, but it was quite distant. It did allow me to get this 'educational' video of it soaring with a Buzzard though...


Feel free to replace the word 'educational' with 'crap'!

During feeding time, it came in on at least four occasions to get some grub, allowing me to get the following shots of it. The Black Kite was totally different from the Red Kites in many ways (size, shape, jizz, colour), but due to the sheer speed all the Kites were whizzing round at, it was very easy to loose, making these photos even more pleasing....

A stunningly plumaged bird!

And here's a closer video of it, which ends nicely blurred....



Non-raptor birds here inlcuded a couple of Siskins and a flock of at least 60 Lesser Redpolls.

What a cracking trip, to see a cracking bird, accompained by 300+ of it's equally cracking cousins! The drive home was again fantastic, the snow covered mountains looked specactular


I shall end this post with a few very much meant words, something I can conclude after yesterday's trip.... I like Wales a lot!

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