Didn't get up particularly early but was on the track by 0745. Things seemed pretty quiet until a casual glance to my left resulted in the sight of a cracking Red Kite low over the field. For the next 40 mins I was treated to some great veiws of one of my most favorite birds as it hunted the fields, eventually picking up some rubbish and carrying it to a distant hederow where it settled to inspect its 'catch'! It soon became apparent that this was a 2nd calander year juvenile which may explain the refuse collecting!
moulting inner primaries
showing a couple of adult type black breast feathers, amount of black on bill also indicates a young bird (much reduced in adult.
not particularly welcomed by the locals!
After thoroughly watching the bird move off south I scanned to the west where immediately another kite came into veiw! It was soon apparent that it was another Red Kite but this one was full winged and immaculate. It drifted east quite quickly along the ridge, being harrassed by the local Crows as it went. In this BoP (Bird of Prey) excitement my brain barely registered the singing Lesser Whitethroat and Willow Warblers ! Chuffed with my kites I wandered home where shortly I got a call from the SBO observers to say they had a Black Kite that was hanging about! With what went before immediately forgotten I cursed myself for not taking a trip down the 'patch ' as I often do at the weekend. With a further message that the bird had been lost from veiw and with no idea of its direction I scanned in hope rather than expectation, transfixed to the western horizon like it was some sort of raptor Mecca and I 'd been called to prayer! five mins turned to ten which turned to fifteen, and with the birds' last known location literally just over the horizon I had seriously lost hope. Then in the very distant distance a shape soared some where over Sheringham and as it drew closer it became obvious that this was the boy... a BLACK KITE!!! For nearly an hour we were treated to an excellent display by Black Kite standards, as it drifted and soared too and fro to the west of the village, and always visable from the bottom of our garden! With the added bonus of seeing the Reds this morning shortly beforehand it was good to get a feel for the difference between the two species, and to remember how different they really are! By 1130 the bird was gaining height and was eventually lost from veiw, apparently being seen moving west through Cley at 1230. The rest of the day was spent in a rarity endused daze as I could chill out and enjoy the rest of the day adding Common Buzzard (3 local) a Peregrine during the afternoon and a good 'ole Marsh Harrier moving west late afternoon. Final word though must go to Mick Saunt the stalwort watcher of Incleborough Hill who unfortunately could not be about today but spoke to me on the phone first thing this morning and proclaimed ''...there'll be a Black Kite today, it looks right!'' Top, Top call Mick!
PYL 85 Willow Warbler
PYL 86 Lesser Whitethroat
PYL 87 GYL 52 BLACK KITE (yes it does have to be in capitals!)