Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Two Kites - - or perhaps just one

Yesterday, driving towards York along Wetherby Road, I saw a familiar shape circling in the sky.

A Red Kite! They are whopping great birds of prey which were at one time hunted nearly to extinction in this country. Their wingspan can be nearly six feet and they always look, to me, to have longer wings than any other bird. They look rather like a flying Angel of the North.

Red Kites always survived - just - in the wilds of Wales but now they have been reintroduced in several places in Britain - if you scroll down a bit, this map shows where. One of the circles, you'll notice, is just where Leeds is. The red kites were introduced at Eccup Reservoir some years ago - only a few miles from our house.

(If you don't know where Leeds is, if you look for the Humber estuary - shown as a slit on the East side of England about half-way up the coast - and then work your way inland to the middle - - well that's where Leeds is. And also where some red kites are).

I always love to see them - their size and their circling brings a real feeling of wildness with them. So I was delighted to see one as I began my journey to York yesterday.

Then, today, Stephen was letting the cat in (or maybe out. We do this kind of thing a lot. Cats are very demanding) and he called me. "Big bird in the sky."

Yes, another red kite - - or perhaps the same one - - circling over our house. Wonderful to see.

They eat mostly carrion but will also take birds and small mammals.

I did wonder if word has got round the Red Kite community about my tiny mother, always out gardening, sometimes in her swimsuit. I think I'd better warn her.


Blogger Jennyta said...

I thought it might have its eye on your cat, Daphne. ;)

9:01 pm  
Blogger Ailbhe said...

We love the red kites. Or at least, I do, but they're so very common here that the kids don't care much, now that they've been assured that they won't be carried off by one.

9:14 pm  
Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Hull has received many undeserved knocks over the years but to describe the mighty mouth of the great river on which it stands as "a slit on the East side of England" is a disgrace - it's like calling Leeds a rancid pimple on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales! Maybe I should reword that!

12:30 pm  
Blogger rhymeswithplague said...

I don't think your mother is in jeopardy, but I do agree with Jenny. The bird is after your cat.

1:40 pm  
Anonymous Milo said...

Love Red Kites! When we would holiday with family in deepest Wales in the 1980s there was a very small number around. Such a privilege to see them, always fired my imagination.

8:02 pm  
Blogger Daphne said...

Jennyta - yes, well if it has, if it tangles with our cat Wendy it will undoubtedly end up missing a wing or two.
Ailbhe - I'm so pleased that they're getting to be common round here too!
YP - - oh, you're SO touchy. I was describing the map I linked to, not the Humber itself. Try to pay closer attention in future. I suspect you're too busy preparing for Blogland to read properly.
Bob - the cat and my mother are about the same size, honestly. I think I should warn her.
Milo - yes, there are plenty in deepest Wales now, hurrah!

8:46 pm  

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