Aberdeen Red Kites (ARK) is a three year project to reintroduce kites to Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. 30 birds were released in 2007, 35 in 2008 and another 30-35 in 2009. Many of the birds have been named by schools and local business. The aim of the project is to establish a breeding population in one of the largest remaining gaps for red kites in Britain.
After a fantastic breeding season with six successful nests producing 15 young we should have a lot of kites to look for flying around Aberdeenshire. However, this is now getting more difficult! Most birds have now lost their radio transmitters, which means that we have to rely on the unique two digit letter and/or number combination on their wing tags. Sightings are now much harder to get than they were when we could track the birds by radio.
Birds are also dispersing more widely throughout the Aberdeenshire countryside and even into the Angus glens. With shortening days and an even wider area to search for the birds (Aberdeenshire alone being 2,500 square miles), it’s becoming trickier and more time consuming for the RSPB red kite staff and volunteers to find all the individual birds.
That’s why it’d be great if people can be on the look out for red kites where ever they are in Aberdeenshire or Angus and report any sightings to the RSPB. We’d be really grateful for any sightings of kites, (if you can tell us the tag number, all the better!) Just let us know where the birds are we can go along later and give it a shot ourselves. Taking pictures of kites and checking the tags when you get home is a useful way of not only reading tags on a fast moving bird but also for double checking your tag reading skills when you get back home!
As for the kites we do know about, you can get some near guaranteed close views at the Cullerlie Stone Circle, near Garlogie; 77 or 11 have been there every time I have lately, feeding happily on the plentiful dead rabbits. Another good bird to locate is 97, around the roads to the west of the Loch of Skene and the gossip seems to be that 97 is often in the company of 55 – a possible match in the making?
Hopefully during the next blog post we’ll be able to update you a bit on the movements of this year’s chicks and remember, the RSPB is extremely grateful for any sightings of red kites in North East Scotland, so please send us in any information you have to firstname.lastname@example.org