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…
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.