23rd of March 2014.

Elan Valley & Gigrin Farm – Mid Wales.

Another Sunday trip with members of the local Coventry and Warwickshire RSPB group had us off to Mid Wales. Starting off in cool, but dry weather at 07.00am, our coach journey took us through a mixture of rain, sleet, snow and sunshine!

First stop was Elan Valley where we had a few hours taking in the beautiful scenery albeit in different weather conditions. It is an area stretching 72 square miles with historic landscapes and plenty of wildlife. The dams and reservoirs were built to service the citizens of Birmingham and are a reminder of remarkable Victorian engineering. 
Birds seen here were Peregrine Falcon, Raven, Buzzard, Red Kite, Kestrel, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Blue tit, Great tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Black headed gull, Wood pigeon, Pheasant and Chaffinch.
 There were two pairs seen here, firstly, Peregrines as we watched one perch high above on a rock and the second was viewed flying high about a quarter of a mile further away scanning the area. Also observed for some time and building a nest (more like a small bonfire) was a pair of Ravens, huge in size when seen in close proximity to a passing Buzzard and Red Kite.
From here we went to Gigrin Farm a famous feeding site for Red Kites set in the wonderful countryside right in the heart of Wales.

Our organisers Peter and Lesley had reserved a large hide for the group which gave everyone the perfect spot to watch what turned out to be one of the most amazing birding spectacles I’ve seen.

At 2pm a tractor arrived in front of all the hides where upon the driver began to throw raw meat out across the site. As soon as this began the circling Red Kites started to drop in to take their feed, followed by Buzzards, Ravens and Rooks.
White - Red Kite

 The noise of cameras along with gasps and wows didn’t make the slightest bit of difference to the birds as they continued for almost an hour to swoop down and take the food, neither strangely did the presence of two farm cats who sat for a short while watching the diving birds.


In a field at the back of the feeding area I caught sight of a Red Fox vixen and she didn’t seem too bothered about the mayhem that was happening to her left. 
The walk back to the coach gave up a Bullfinch which was hidden deep within a small tree and was very camera shy. Not a day with high numbers of different bird species, however, for one species it was truly spectacular with what seemed to be well over a hundred Red Kites?
Thanks go to Lesley and Peter Berrill for organising another successful group’s day of birding and I look forward to the next trip.