To my right and far off I spotted a Raptor quartering the field. JK was onto it with his bins and I pulled over to allow him a better look. Although distant the suggestion was Red Kite from the passenger seat, interesting...we continued to the top of the hill.
We headed along to the track to the NATS station. A Peregrine showed well gliding above the scree slope and eventually taking a perch. We bumped into a local farmer who had come over from the area where the mystery raptor had been seen, and he confirmed there were indeed Red Kites about, and advised us where to look. Soon enough JK had the Red Kite in the scope, perched on a Fence post. Next we spotted the first Wheatear of the day, a Male, and shortly afterwards happened upon a pair of Stonechats. I had my best views to date of the Male, smashing birds.
|Male and Feamale Stonechats|
The Peregrine continued to show on and off, and as the walk progressed the Wheatear count rose gradually. There were plenty of Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits around too. I also spotted my second identifiable butterfly of the year, a lovely Peacock.
|1st Peacock of the Year|
As the morning warmed the Raptors came out to play. A kestrel, several Buzzards at eventually 3 Red Kites were enjoying the thermals and the clear blue skies made viewing them a real thrill.It was a real unexpected bonus to the trip, seeing 3 kites together was just fantastic ! I finished off by bagging my first female Wheatear of the year.
On the way back way spent a while in the Wyre, where the raptor count increased further with a Sparrowhawk sighting, taking the days total to 5 different raptor species and some birding observations I will never forget.
|2 of the 3 Red Kites enjoying the fine weather|