Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Yoesden Bank and red kites

I was driving past Yoesden Bank this morning, so popped in for a quick look around. I was very pleased to find masses of primroses and violets flowering all along the edge of the woodland where it opens out onto chalk grassland.



BBOWT set up an appeal to raise money to buy the site, which they successfully did last summer. It's such a fantastic place and is a real haven for wildflowers and butterflies, plus it has some pretty spectacular views. I'm looking forward to going back throughout the summer.

Yoesden Bank
There were lots of birds up there, including blue tits, great tits, robins, red kites and pheasants. I heard a couple of birds calling every few minutes with a very distinctive call that I believe were green woodpeckers. There was one up in the trees behind me and another down in the valley below. I couldn't see them, but managed to video one of them calling, so turn up the sound on your computer and you can have a listen (just ignore the video!)

I then headed down the hill to my parents house. The red kites that nest in their back garden every year are busy nest building and mating, so I was hoping to catch them on camera! As usual they didn't do what I wanted them to do!  I did see Kenny (the male) taking some twigs into their nest though. Apparently he does all the nest building and it's really starting to take shape now.

The nest is in a tree just outside their back door, so we'll hopefully get a good view of any chicks they manage to raise.

The nest is top right in the picture and their house is bottom left 
I noticed a pair of very cheeky house sparrows appear to be nesting in the bottom of the kites nest. Looks like they're making their own basement flat!  They were in and out of the little hole all the time I was there.
They appear to be nesting in the little hole to the left of her tail

Both the female and male house sparrow were in and out of their basement flat!
Their garden is always full of birds. We saw goldfinches, goldcrests (but they were much too small and fast to catch on camera), some very flirtatious dunnocks, lovey doves and a blackbird sitting on eggs.

As the kites weren't 'performing', Dad gave them some chicken so I could video them. I haven't slowed it down this time so you can see how fast and quiet they are. Also note how quickly they come down for it after he's thrown it on the lawn. At the end of the video you can see two of them having a mid-air fight over a piece of chicken.

I'll try again another day to get photos or video of them mating. Apparently it's a very noisy affair (my parents can hear them from inside the house) and they mate at least 5 times a day for about 6 weeks.


  1. yep that sound was a green woodpecker calling which is called a yaffle. It sounds like laughing to me lol Great stuff on the kites. It seems that you have the kites while I have the harriers lol

  2. Thanks Sean. I'm not very good at bird calls, I just knew it was something a bit different. Had to ask my Dad what it was!