Archive for the “red kite” Category

A bad year for butterflies

Posted in "red kite", birds, garden, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 19 August 2016 by bramblejungle

The wettest June recently recorded has been followed locally by low numbers of butterflies, especially small tortoiseshell and peacock. Butterfly Conservation will have a better view of the national picture when they collate the results of the annual count.

Ringlets seem to be an exception, and were doing well in early July

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

Later there were marbled whites on their usual nectar sources (knapweed and thistles)

Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)

There have been one or two red admirals

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

and the occasional peacock, but not the usual numbers.

Peacock (Aglais io)

It’s not all bad news: garden birds have been breeding well, the starling colony is still here, and the skies have been full of swifts, house martins and swallows

Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Red kites are thriving
Red kite (Milvus milvus)

and ravens – once confined to the western fringes of the UK because of persecution and perhaps pesticides – have made a welcome return.

Raven (Corvus corax)


Kites in trees

Posted in "red kite", birds, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , on 8 December 2013 by bramblejungle

Kite in a tree
Red kites in flight are a common sight here, but until recently I had not seen them perched. Perhaps I haven’t been looking hard enough – or perhaps this indicates that they are becoming less wary of people, and may even nest near human habitation sometime in the future. That would make the dawn chorus interesting (if a bit loud)! Red kite (Milvus milvus)

Birds in flight

Posted in "red kite", birds, flight, garden, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , on 21 June 2013 by bramblejungle

We’re still short of insects, and I haven’t yet seen any scarlet tiger moths at the local hot-spot – I’ll keep looking – but in one respect we have to be amongst the luckiest people on the planet.

On a (rare) sunny evening, all I have to do is point a camera upwards to capture one of the most majestic birds in existence
Kites in the evening sun

Not just one – loads of them. This one (beak wide open) is making its characteristic “whee-oo” call
Kites in the evening sun
and I think this one was wondering whether I’m edible

Kites in the evening sun

Once common city scavengers, extinct in England from the 19th century till their reintroduction about 20 years ago, now back where they belong.

Cold Spring

Posted in "red kite", birds, insects, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 30 May 2013 by bramblejungle

The Met Office are now suggesting that this will be the coldest spring for 50 years; what the long-term effect will be remains to be seen, but at the moment it looks as though most of nature is carrying on as usual, though anything up to five weeks late.

Cold wet weather isn’t great for photographing bugs and butterflies, but here are a few shots I’ve taken recently:

A Dock Bug (common, but I had never seen one before):
Dock Bug (Coreus marginatus)

A Green Shieldbug – one of several shieldbug species that I hope are still here:

Palomena prasina (Common Green Shieldbug)

and a Speckled Bush Cricket nymph – we usually have loads of these, a couple of weeks earlier than this year:

Speckled bush cricket (Leptophyes punctatissima) nymph

Meanwhile a nearby field was cut for silage, and at least 20 Red Kites turned up to feast on (I think) worms.

What do red kites eat?

The local kestrel came along, too:

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

Garden birdwatch 2013

Posted in "red kite", birds, flight, garden, oxfordshire, wildlife with tags , , on 26 January 2013 by bramblejungle

Sparrows and starlings still here, but no finches at all. The count was supervised by a red kite (I probably shouldn’t have counted it).

Big Garden Birdwatch 2013


Posted in "red kite", birds, oxfordshire, wildlife with tags , on 1 January 2013 by bramblejungle

Blue sky, winter sun
After one of the wettest Decembers on record, 2013 got off to a good start with a clear blue sky, and perhaps a chance for waterlogged ground to dry out. Happy New Year!

Birds and brambles

Posted in "red kite", birds, garden, goldfinch, oxfordshire, photography, Uncategorized, wildlife with tags , , , on 7 October 2012 by bramblejungle

Red kite (Milvus milvus) The kites have regrown their flight feathers after moulting, and there are other predators around: buzzards, circling too high to photograph, kestrelsKestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and sparrowhawksSparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
The hedgerows are fruiting well, with plenty of haws and sloes (last time we had a really cold winter these provided food for migrating flocks of redwings and fieldfares), and blackbirds are enjoying the blackberriesBlackberry feast
Flocks of goldfinches are fighting over garden feedersFightand lesser black-backed gulls have come inland from their coastal breeding grounds.Lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus) It must be Autumn.

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