Look To The Heavens
I hope that we were not the only ones looking to the heavens on Good Friday. We were soaking up the sun on our terrace at around midday when I spotted a huge bird gliding high in the sky roughly over the butchers shop. In a second or two a crow arrived to mob it and this showed us just how big it was. I nipped in for the binoculars and we were then treated to a magnificent display of seemingly effortless flying. As the bird flew nearer we could clearly see its forked tail. It could only be a Red Kite! It seemed completely unperturbed by the attentions of the crow and continued with its majestic soaring flight., its tail constantly twisting against the blue sky. With a wingspan of 55-60 inches (140-152 cms.) the crow was quite dwarfed by it. By the time it flew overhead it had gained a lot of height but with the bins we could see the white wing patches and the long finger-like black wing tips. The crow was not giving up though and we watched them get higher and higher, until we could barely see them without the bins, but the crow was still there. At last it looked as if it would break off its attack and soared way above the kite only to change tactics and come stooping down on the kite, like a falcon. Still the kite took no notice but continued to soar. Soon they became tiny pinpricks in the sky. even with the binoculars, and we lost them in a puff of cloud. Five minutes of heaven watching one of the most graceful flyers in the bird world was worth a stiff neck!
This red kite was undoubtedly one from the re-introduction project along the “M4 Corridor”. It was not the first time we had seen a kite fly over. The previous time, in 1995, we could not believe our eyes, as red kites were confined to about 20 pairs in mid Wales, and I rang the R.S.P.B. at Sandy. They were delighted to hear about our sighting and told me about the re-introduction project in which over a period of five years about 90 young red kites, mainly from healthy populations in Spain and Sweden, were released on the Chiltern escarpment. They sent us a leaflet about it and our siting was plotted on a special map. The project has been a great success and more releases are planned for the Midlands. Hopefully we will all get a chance to see more red kites gracing the skies around Chipperfield.
I rather take it for granted being able to dash about and run up and down the garden, so on 16 May I shall be taking part in the Kings Langley Fun Run and will be sponsored to raise money for John Preswichs mobility fund. I know John enjoys watching wildlife from his windows, but how much better it would be if he could get outside and enjoy the countryside under his own steam.