The Red Kites of Stokenchurch


If you want to see Red Kites in the wild, head for Buckinghamshire and for the village of Stokenchurch. On a good day you can see probably 40 birds up in the sky at the same time. They climb to incredible heights until they become nothing more than a mere speck in the clouds and gradually descend towards terra-firma at which point you can witness them circling in large groups.

On my first visit to the area I spent a number of hours driving around to find the best spot to set up for the day with the camera gear. I stopped dead in my tracks as a group of twelve kites dive bombed a pond outside a farm. I could see them at close quarters and they didn’t seem at all perturbed by my car. I tried to take a few shots through the window but it didn’t work, as soon as they caught my movement they retreated, gained altitude and once again became specks high in the clouds.

The photo shown here was taken from a small woodland copse in a field about a mile outside of Stokenchurch. I sat there for awhile watching these fantastic raptors circling above and gradually they came in close enough for me to be able to take some decent shots. There is no doubt that with a little more research I could probably better this and get even closer and without the need for a beefier lens (my biggest is a 500mm and the one I used for this shot). One option would be to set up a hide in a good location and spend some more time there which is something I am planning for another day!

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