feeding time

15 09 2014

Last month, for the first time in many years, we took a holiday in the UK, staying at a remote farmhouse in Wales. Not too far away was the Gigrin Farm Red Kite Feeding & Rehabilitation Centre, so that was somewhere we had to visit. The kites are fed at the same time every day, and the number of them visiting varies according to the weather. In bad winter conditions there can be as many as 600 birds feeding in the course of an hour; we estimate we may have seen as many as 200.

The food is very lean beef, fit for human consumption.

lean beef

Visitors – the human kind – sit in hides, watching and waiting for the kites to appear.

it begins
it begins

seeing red
seeing red

nearly a skyful
nearly a skyful

A sky full of red kites – that in itself is breathtaking. And then, once the crows have declared it safe, they begin to swoop.

table manners
table manners

who dropped their dinner?
who dropped their dinner

just checking out the menu
just checking out the menu

hey, leave some for us!
hey, leave some for us

tagged
tagged

out of the way, crows!
out of the way, crows!

watching
watching

not quite albino
not quite albino

There’s a rare white red kite in the area. The one in my picture clearly isn’t as white as the one shown on the website, but it had strikingly less pigmentation than all the other birds we saw that day. I’m sure it must be related.

the crows say: it’s safe
the crows say it's safe

fly past
fly past

It’s worth clicking through to Flickr and looking at the large version of some of those images. They aren’t all as good as I’d like, given the limitations of poor light, no tripod, and a limited amount of zoominess, they aren’t too shoddy either.


— words & pictures by Elizabeth

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