Red Kites in Hampshire (follow up)

Its funny how one very small post I made on this blog earlier this year has sparked off quite a few comments about Red Kite sightings in Hampshire. Thing is this is quite significant and as a member of the RSPB, it is very exciting to see that these splendid birds are living what seems to be a very comfortable existence.

My interest in this particular species goes back many years. I saw my first Kite in the Dordogne region of France whilst on holiday. My Dad and I were watching a bird of prey circling at a great height, it was almost impossible to make out what it was until it started to gradually descend. My Dad was able to identify it for me, as he got a better view of it and confirmed it as being a Red Kite. We caught sight of it a number of times after that close to the farmhouse we were staying in at the time. One day I shall tell you about some of the other creatures we saw there, Marmosets for example, yes, In France, no idea how they got there but a local guy was convinced that’s what they were and believe you me they had the whole village perplexed as much as they did us…

I digress….

Fast forward quite a few years (!!!), I hear about Red Kites being repatriated in our own country, many centuries after they were wiped out by persecution. I thought nothing of it until about 2 or 3 years ago when we were driving through Oxfordshire, I spotted one flying overhead, that was nothing though as a little further down the road we saw a group of 20! It was an incredible sight and we had to stop, just to take it all in. We were witnessing with our own eyes, something quite extraordinary, a bird that had been extinct in this country for so long, was back and in big numbers.

Since that day I have been gradually exploring various areas around Buckinghamshire/Berkshire and have seen Red Kites in Slough of all places. However the best place to see them in the South of England, has got to be Stokenchurch, Bucks. You cannot fail to spot one there, in fact you can see large flocks of them circling high above the village and further out into the Chilterns.

My research indicated that this was very much the case, that Red Kites were breeding very well in Buckinghamshire, Northern England and all over Wales. No mention anywhere of them being sighted in Hampshire (my home county) or anywhere else. So when I saw one for the first time in my own county, I was very pleased indeed. Since that first sighting, I have seen plenty more, probably about a dozen now and most of them around the Basingstoke area.

This brings me back to the comments I have received for the original post – Many people out there have also spotted them and I did a search on Google for “red kite Hampshire” and my site is listed in second place and I have outranked a page on the BBC site too! I only wrote a few words too which I find quite amusing! Its a clear indication of how powerful the blog medium is…

UPDATE 22nd June 2009

A number of people are having wonderful sightings and I am particularly interested in what Sandy was saying about Kites feeding from their garden. I would be interested in discussing this further with anyone who has such sightings, as I would love to make arrangements to come and photograph the birds in action.

UPDATE 22nd July 2017

Simply amazing how this page bubbles to the surface from time to time when people search for information on Red Kites. So thought I should republish this article by pinning it to the top of my homepage! Thanks for the new comment that has revigorated this story.

So nearly ten years after first writing this I’m seeing the Red Kite spread further afield. Once upon a time you had to hop in the car and drive to Buckinghamshire or South Wales. Reason being these two locations were where they’d been reintroduced. Now they are finding their own new territories and it’s fantastic to see.

114 thoughts on “Red Kites in Hampshire (follow up)

  1. My mum attends the daycare centre in Woodley 3 days a week & it’s rare NOT to see red kites. On a couple of occasions, I’ve felt sure that up to 3 kites have followed the car. They’ve circled round us when we get out, coming down to just above the treetops. Last week one kite just seemed to stop maybe 15/20 ft directly above as though it was watching. They seem interested in us. They also circle over our house towards Wokingham, coming quite low. I’m desperate to have one in the garden & was considering putting chicken out to attract them (especially for the RSPB bird count this month!) But now that I’ve read the link quoted by Snodgrass – I won’t! Even though I see them regularly, it’s still a huge thrill when they appear. Such beautiful birds. Although I may change my mind if they get hungry in this snowy weather & chase my cat! Saw one today around the Slough junction of the M4 too.

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  2. Hi, Both my wife and myself have seen a red kite on two seperate occasions this week (commencing 11.01.10) with the latest sighting this morning. Where we live in Rockbourne, Hampshire we regularly see Buzzards, but on these occasions the sightings were obvious with the the very pronounced fork tail. We have a love for kites after having seen many in mid Wales and were so excited at having seen our first over our house. The area we live in is part of the Western Downlands with many valleys and wooded areas, ideal habitat for buzzards and Kites (we hope).

    Kind Regards,

    Peter & Stephanie Legg

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    1. That is interesting news indeed, as I haven’t heard about them being that far over towards the New Forest. Sounds like an ideal area for them mind you, certainly good habitat around there. My life is spent between Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and my home county of Hampshire and I regularly spot them in all three counties. I am impressed this post has attracted so much interest from so many people. It is a pleasure to link up with others who share the same passion for wildlife in their daily lives. I am eager to do a project on Red Kites at some point if I can, would love to have the chance to photograph them in detail.

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  3. Hi,
    I was in Woodley , Reading Fri 15th Jan 2010. Spotted around 6 Kites behind the shopping area. Amazing they seem at home in urban Berkshire.
    My first sighting of these wonderful birds was in the 80’s & 90’s around Salamanca , Spain. Being a ‘regular’ driver to Portugal in the lorry, I looked forward to seeing them (sometimes stopping overnight before i reached the town to get a good view in the morning), tho’ this was not the best time. Around 30 – 40 birds gathered over a landfill site west of the town.
    I am pleased they have spread out to Hampshire, only a matter of time before they reach my county, Dorset.
    Regards
    John Young

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    1. Today over Mill Park in Bracknell Berkshire we were watching what we believe was a Red Kite, it was a beautiful sight to see, the birds wing span must have been over 4 feet? at one point it was above us. W e asked a friend of ours who knows more about birds than us & he said it was a Red Kite? could this be? whatever this bird was it was huge & very graceful’ we watched it swoop down twice but could not see if it had caught anything? the surrounding area at this time seemed to be bird free only the Red Kite was flying or should I say gliding in the sky above
      The time of this sighting was approx 2.15 & lasted about 25 mins?

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  4. Hi there, l live in the village of east meon and often see a red kite flying, some times with buzzards and also on its own. weather their is one or two l am not sure.
    regards eric

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  5. For the last two years we have had a pair of red kites overfly our village up to four times a day.
    We believe they are hunting up and down the A33 corridor between Reading and Basingstoke

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  6. We have LOADS if kites here in Maidenhead/Ockwells Pk! They are thriving and wonderful to observe – today I saw 6 in one go!! thats the most in one place do date!
    Hope they dont have their beady eyes on my chihuahuas!!

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  7. I have only read these comments today following an item about Red Kites in Gateshead on ‘The One Show’ this evening. I saw a huge bird recently over houses adjoining the fields at Kempshott , on the Southern side of Basingstoke. I watched it for about five minutes circling before it flew furthe into the urban area. I described it as ‘just like a Red kite’ but simply couldn’t believe I had seen one locally. On returning home I checked my bird book and even though I could find nothing other than a Kite which resembled what I had seen I still couldn’t believe what I had actually seen. Reading all the comments here has convinced me that I have indeed seen a Red Kite. They are such magnificent birds.

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  8. And we thought we’d seen the first one in Hampshire!! Saw one today soaring over our village, Wickham, near Portsmouth. Wonderful sight and the first of many we hope.

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  9. Hi Nick. Pleased to report a further sighting this morning of a Kite in Rockbourne. We were starting to dispair that our kite had moved on as we had no sightings since, but my wife & I both witnessed a beautiful aerial display for more than 5 mins over the valley in front of our house. Last seen heading towards the village of Martin. It’s really made our day. Also seen our first House Martins – Spring is finally here!

    Kind regards

    Peter & Stephanie Legg

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  10. Whilst working in my back garden (south ham area of Basingstoke), I could hear the sound of a bird of pray. Looking up there were two red kites. They stayed in the area for quite a while before heading towards the oakley area.

    Also I have seen them in the overton area, such a spectacular bird to watch!!!!

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  11. Two birds spotted above , and on the ground in fields around , Offwell farm (south of Southwick and barely 1/4 mile north of the M275). Very good view of one bird from about 30 metres distance whilst on ground.Far less wary than buzzards.

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  12. I live in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, and regularly see a red kite circling over the woods and fields either side of Dilly Lane.

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      1. We have Red Kites here in South Warnborough! I have just been watching one hovering over the field at the back of the house and see them flying overhead on a regular basis. They are apparently nesting at the farm at the end of Froyle lane.

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  13. The reason for my Google search has resulted from sighting our first Kite over East Wellow, Hampshire; close to the eastern side of the New Forest.

    I saw my first one in germany in the early 80s. I had to stop the car to gawp in awe πŸ™‚

    We have numerous Buzzards hunting over the fields and woodland at the back of our place…so we are used to them. On Sunday 16th May I was immediately struck by the fork tail and called on my wife to come and see …. the unmistakeable tail of a Kite and a flight pattern and body motion that cannot be confused with a Buzzard.

    I posted a blog on the fishing forum I was on at the time
    http://www.beachandboat.co.uk/index.cgi?board=chat2&action=display&thread=15049

    One of the fellas on the forum reported seeing a Kite on the Isle of Wight …which caused some disbelief. So its really true they are successfully spreading…truly a great result

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  14. I travel to Liss every week-day and often see the Buzzards and Kestrel and
    on the odd occasion A Red Kite, can you imagine how excited I was whilst
    waiting out side Asda in Brighton Hill this lunchtime this beautiful Red Kite
    was flying above me, I did manage to to take a photo, (bog standard camera) and continued to watch it for a good five minutes. Sadly there
    was nobody who shared my excitement.

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  15. Hi,

    Spotted a Red Kite just north of Alresford about a week ago, managed to get a couple of (rather poor) photos on my iPhone as it passed directly overhead. Any idea of what the range of a red kite would be – is this the same one that has been reported above as being near Basingstoke (sighting was about 10 mile SSE of Basingstoke).

    Regards.

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    1. It is impossible to say whether it is the same bird as previously reported for the simple fact that there is a growing population of kites in the area. As for their range that is another great question that I don’t have an answer for.

      You’ve got my mind ticking over now!!!

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  16. Two weeks ago I counted EIGHTEEN Red Kites in Woodley! Every so often one or two would branch off and sail over us then back again. Most I’ve seen previously was eleven. Naturally I didn’t have my camera! Still feeling the excitement now!

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  17. I live between Wickham & Titchfield.
    I spotted a Red Kite in my garden, scavenging for some meat scraps that I had put out for the Foxes.
    I watched it for a few minutes, before the Magpies & Rooks chased it off.
    I have seen it two more times overhead since.
    My Brother reported seeing one today over Corhampton Golf Course as well.

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  18. I have to admit a passion for birds of prey generally but especially the Red Kite. Have been spotting them over my house in South West Basingstoke now for a couple of years, always a single bird until recently when i saw a pair. But today was something special. I have a lot of bird feeders in my garden and attract a lot of birds. Was outside this afternoon enjoying the sun as were the local bird population who were being very vocal about it when suddenly they became silent. Then i realised why, about 100ft above my house was a red kite. It circled for at least 15 minutes before deciding to depart, and during that time I didn’t see a single bird or hear a single chirp. And what a sight. I’ve always thought they were the king of the sky, now I know!

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    1. Thanks for sharing your awe inspired moments with us. Sounds very much like the first time I saw them 20 years or so ago in the South of France, which I relived all again a few years ago whilst driving through Oxfordshire and saw about 20 together!

      Like

  19. Just been watching kite soaring over my house! Beautiful! I live in Basingstoke nr fire station and saw low flying kite early the other morning too. Have seen black kites in France. I think I might be a bit obsessed!

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    1. Used to work in basingstoke (Chineham) and would see them quite often soaring overhead, sometimes with buzzards, but normally a single or a pair. I now work in Reading and you can see them right in the centre of the town, soaring whilst everybody goes about there shopping etc…Its quite a sight!! See load of them everyday on my way to & from work. I have also seen them over Andover, winchester, new forest, farnborough, camberley, sandhurst, crowthorne, wokingham, windsor, ascot etc……..
      If you ever go to the hawk conservancy in Andover, they do some great displays and get their eagles & black kites to soar above the meadows & on a hot day, the local buzzrds & red kites quite often join in…..its quite a site!!

      Like

  20. I saw a red kite yesterday flying over Four Marks in Hampshire. We have loads of buzzards which are regularly seen but this was a first, for me, of a kite.

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  21. We saw a red kite whilst walking near East Meon on 1st Sept. We’d previously seen them in Wales but it was beautiful to see the bird swooping over Hampshire!

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  22. Driving along the A272 from Petersfield to Winchester, my wife and I saw a red kite this afternoon between Bordean and East Meon. The sharp V of the tail was so distinctive and stunning to see in flight over a very snowy landscape. Couldn’t believe it at first as we see quite a lot of buzzards around the downs especially when out walking at Queen Elizabeth Country Park so as it flew towards us just thought it was another one. But up close ~ 20m away – fantastic – made our day!

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    1. I love the route along the A272, some beautiful scenery along that way as the roads weaves along the spurs of the downs. A place I’d love to live in. I think I saw another Red Kite the other day myself just off the A31 close to Ropley as it happens. This weather is ideal for spotting all kinds of wildlife, as it stands out so well which in turn means birds of prey have an easier job!

      (although kites are carrion eaters….)

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  23. When driving the 69 bus from Winchester to Fareham on Friday 4th Feb I saw a Red Kite in Lower Upham, a friend saw one the previous week @ Cheesefoot Head on the A272 just outside Winchester

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  24. Hi, saw a pair of red kites today in Fareham, only a couple of miles from the south coast, great to see and upstaged my kingfisher sighting which happened today . Was cfortunate to have seen kites in the Marlow area before and was amazing to see them in my town.

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  25. Hey,

    I was just searching the internet for a place to report sightings of red kites and stumbled across this site.

    To my amazement, I saw a red kite mid-May above Long Crichel, which is a little village in north Dorset a few miles east of Blandford, close to the Wiltshire border. I have NEVER seen one so far south before. I’ve often seen them as I’ve passed through Oxford and Wales (who hasn’t?) but not down here. It was such a welcome surprise!

    Just wondered if anyone else has ever spotted one in Dorset before?

    Kerrie

    (7th June 2011)

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    1. Wow, I know where the village is, you have an amazing bakery there. My parents live close-by in Wimborne and they took us there when we visited. Hope to go back and keep an extra eye open for the Red Kites.

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  26. Pingback: Red Kites
  27. Just seen a Red Kite while out walking Sunday over Preistwood in Bracknell, they have been spotted by locals a lot recently, most beutifull gracefull bird.

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  28. TODAY I SHOW THREE RED KITES CIRCLING IN MY GARDEN AND ONE PERCHED IN A TREE. I LIVE IN BASINGSTOKE, AND HAVE NEVER SEEEN THEM BEFORE. IT WAS AMAZING. THEY WERE CALL TO EACH OTHER AND GLIDING.

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  29. Hi, IF the red kite is the only uk raptor with a pronounced forked tail?? then I have seen one over my garden in Farnborough Hants. sighted this morning (14 1 20150) flying low enough to see very clearly. Last summer, I saw what I thought was a red kite, flying in the same area in the sky, at higher
    altitude, (no so clear to see except for the fork in the tail)

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    1. Hi Jill, that is great to hear πŸ™‚ Yes you would have definitely seen a Red Kite and they are becoming more common in this area. You will see them quite often down the M3 towards Basingstoke. I have also spotted them over by Wellington Statue in Aldershot.

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  30. It appears the Red kite population is growing well in Basingstoke – our house looks out over the Down Grange playing fields Kempshott facing towards a row of very large trees which we see them settle in for a while , we see the red kites almost on a daily basis and on one day I am sure we saw 5 individuals of varying sizes all together, sometimes individuals low and overhead when we are in the garden – amazing sight and a lot larger than you would think

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow this is the longest running conversation on my site. I’m seeing more of them in Farnborough itself now maybe one sighting a week. So their must be a nesting pair nearby. They still amaze me as much as they did nearly a decade ago when I first wrote this post!

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