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.
Joining Glider at Bellmack Farm on the Galloway Kite Trail is Scottwings this week. A2 (aka Scottwings) was collected from near Argaty in Central Scotland in 2009 on the same day as A3 (aka Glider) before being brought to be released in Aberdeen with the other 30 young red kites that year. Both ofn these birds have been named by local primary schools, so thanks to Banchory and Skene Square for thinking of such apt names. Thank you again to Ian Saunders for such a great picture!
The cold weather of the last few months has started to subside and the local red kites and buzzards are reappearing. Many pairs are also starting to think about breeding again and are displaying their ownership of woods by displaying over them in the sunshine. The bright weather this week has been great for seeing kites and reading tags. Uttilising my zoom lens this week I've manged to get some tags. Below is a chick from 2009 (who can tell by the pink on the right wing) just coming into adult plumage, who was hanging around on of the communal roost sites.
Below is one of our most succesful females (Oscar) who since being released in 2007 has had two broods of 2 chicks locally and looks set to return to the same site again this year so fingers crossed! She was busy picking at her feet when I found her.
So where, might you ask, have our birds gone during the cold weather? Most kites (and buzzards) have probably headed to milder climes - either south or to the coast. Significant numbers of kites have been recorded on Islay over the winter as it stayed much milder than the rest of mainland Scotland. Whilst none of the Aberdeen birds have been seen that far afield, we have had A3 still regularly recorded at Bellmack Farm in Dumfries and Galloway. Ian Saunders took this fabulous photograph last week of A3 diving at the feeding station. It looks like Glider is living up to his name!