Yesterday, Mike, Sparky and I went on one of our regular walks, not far from home, in fact, I think of it as part of my patch. We call it the Red kite walk because you nearly always see these beautiful birds.
The walk takes you through the Harewood House Estate. This is the Earl and Countess of Harewood’s estate (he’s the Queen’s cousin). Its a massive well run estate, with lots of walks throughout. There is plenty of wildlife to see and the estate is involved in conservation. One of their success stories was the reintroduction of the Red Kite.
“Red Kites were released on the Harewood estate in 1999 as part of a UK conservation initiative. Harewood Estate was originally part of a partnership involving the RSPB, English Nature, & Yorkshire Water PLC. Their spectacularly successful re-introduction to Lowland areas of Yorkshire is now complete. The Red Kite now has a self-sustaining population, whose numbers are gradually increasing yearly.
This is a far cry from a species which was persecuted to extinction in England and Scotland by the end of the 1800s. At the last count there were over 300 Red Kites in the area around Harewood and Yorkshire. ” (taken from the Harewood website).
Anyway, back to the walk – you will find a map at the link below
We saw at least a dozen kites circling and gliding in the skies. It was positively balmy at 6C and there was this strange round yellow thing in the sky!!! Apart from the kites, we saw a nuthatch and treecreeper along with the usual blue and great tits, blackbirds and thrush.
The kites are amazing and soooo beautiful. When they’re soaring in a blue sky, with the sun shining trough their wings, you can see all the gorgeous colouring and markings.
The forked tail is the main giveaway in recognising these birds.
I often wonder how they manage to survive on scavenging. I know they eat worms and other small things, but even so, its pretty amazing! When fields are ploughed nearby they follow the tractor, often landing in order to pick up a morsel or two.
I still haven’t managed to get the ultimate photo of one of these yet. I have some I quite proud of, but its hard to get everything just right when the background is sky!
We also saw some lovely red deer stags.
And some Highland cattle.
It’s only a short walk, but plenty of other paths to take if you want too.