Seeing a Red Kite from my parent’s house is an almost daily occurrence but after four days without one I was beginning to think I’d return to Preston disappointed. In fact as I got on the train I was resigned to waiting until the next visit to see one of these beautiful birds. But as I watched the countryside fly by I saw, meters from the train, a Kite hovering over the fields hunting, forked tail in clear view so there was no mistaking what it was – fantastic!
Kites may be a regular sight in Northamptonshire now-a-days but it’s not always been that way. This beautiful bird was extinct in England and Scotland over 100 years ago, with only a small stronghold left in northern Wales. I remember being taken to view them on a family holiday in the 90s and being reminded repeatedly how lucky we were to see them and how we wouldn’t see these birds anywhere at home.
In fact, this wasn’t exactly true. The RSPB had started a reintroduction programme for the Kites in Scotland and southern England in 1989 and in 1995, very soon after our trip to Wales, the RSPB started the second phase of their reintroduction programme only a few miles from our home, and over the years the range of these first birds, and their decedents, has spread to cover the whole of our local area. So, while 20 years ago a Red Kite sighting would have been unbelievable now you’re more likely to see one over the garden than a blue tit in the garden.
As the Kite's range spreads across the UK more and more people are being able to enjoy this magnificent bird. Hopefully other birds of prey will see the same success in future years.