More on red kites (updated)

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The news published on Audlem Online last week that a Red Kite had been seen in the area has been confirmed by a number of sightings and reports from keen ornithologists. Shane Thomson saw one of the distinctive birds of prey flying over Brookfield golf course when he was jogging in Longhill Lane. Janet Maughan then confirmed this with sightings in both Hankelow and Audlem. Last year, a red kite was seen in a garden in Salford that backs on to open land.

Joe Hoyles adds today: "I saw a red kite over Heywoods ridge about 10 days ago. Last weekend we went to Wales and saw about 70/80 (wild) red kites being fed at a farm! They get about 400 in the winter at their feeding time of 2pm.

Red kites were, indeed, once restricted to small numbers in that part of central Wales. Successful release programmes of young birds in the Chilterns and around Rutland Water have increased numbers significantly in England. Many are now seen near the M40 between Oxford and High Wycombe as the motorway climbs through the chalk cutting on to the Chiltern Hills about 35 miles from London.

For those on the lookout in Audlem, red kites are larger than the now commonly seen buzzards; have long wings and a long forked tail, as opposed to the more rounded wings and short, broad tail of buzzards. Kites soar with an easy, buoyant flight while hardly moving their wings. They are often seen in pairs although one expert thinks the local bird may be on its own but has established a territory and is waiting for a potential partner to pass by!

Buzzards were virtually unknown in Audlem until a decade or so ago. Now, they are seen on a daily basis soaring over the village and the surrounding countryside. Perhaps, in the near future, red kites might also become more common sights.


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