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Places to see Red Kites

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Old Sunday 2nd March 2008, 12:47   #1
SPF
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Places to see Red Kites

Dear all,
Everytime I venture through Oxfordshire I notice the large numbers of red kites in the area and I was wondering where an ideal place to view them? At present I've been on the Chilterns website and found the Aston Rowant and Walberg nature reserves. What are people's opinons on these sites or does anyone have any other thoughts?
Any tips on where to go for a Spring day's birding in the area would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers,
Paul

They should be a ? at the end of the title - apologies

Last edited by SPF : Sunday 2nd March 2008 at 13:34.
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Old Sunday 2nd March 2008, 15:38   #2
davewalters
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Hi - Recently during a late morning drive along the M40 I counted 23 different birds outnumbering Buzzards by nearly 3 to 1!!!. From my experience I would suggest viewing from the hill at Ashton Rowant but I'm sure there must be a better spot - I'm not local to the area.
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Old Sunday 2nd March 2008, 15:53   #3
Phil Bishop
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Quite often, the best thing to do is drive down one of the minor roads, find somewhere to pull over and wait.
Couple of years back, I spent a great morning in a lay by between Watlington and Christmas Common-where the Ridgeway track crosses the road. 20+ Kites, loads of Buzzards etc.
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Old Wednesday 5th March 2008, 17:33   #4
RobinD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SPF View Post
Dear all,
Everytime I venture through Oxfordshire I notice the large numbers of red kites in the area and I was wondering where an ideal place to view them? At present I've been on the Chilterns website and found the Aston Rowant and Walberg nature reserves. What are people's opinons on these sites or does anyone have any other thoughts?
Any tips on where to go for a Spring day's birding in the area would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers,
Paul

They should be a ? at the end of the title - apologies

Hi Paul,

Ibsone Common is a great place to see large numbers of Kites on a winters evening - I've had over seventy in the air at once. Aston Rowant gives great views of Kites and is good for Ring Ousels in spring. The neighbouring Cowleaze wood can be good for Crossbill and Siskin.
Warburg is a beautiful place with many common woodland birds. Both are fantastic for flora and butterflies later in the year.
What would you want to see and when?

ATB

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Old Sunday 9th March 2008, 15:46   #5
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Much appreciation for all your advice. I went to Walberg yesterday and will be heading back up to the Chilterns over the Easter weekend.

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread....74#post1146574

Robin- I was really impressed with the reserve. With what to see and when- anything really. Any sort of wildlife be it flora or fauna. I am still trying for my elusive sighting of an owl! I think we saw a little owl but for the a fraction of a second a few weeks ago so I’ve not counted it.
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Old Saturday 12th April 2008, 09:30   #6
Helen O
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Bishop View Post
Quite often, the best thing to do is drive down one of the minor roads, find somewhere to pull over and wait.
Couple of years back, I spent a great morning in a lay by between Watlington and Christmas Common-where the Ridgeway track crosses the road. 20+ Kites, loads of Buzzards etc.
Phil has the best idea. We now have approx 300/350 breeding pairs of kites in the Chilterns. They are seen soaring over most of the villages and towns in the Chilterns.

There is also a CCTV nestwatch which takes place at The Garden Store, Studley Green. You can read more about the details on the website below.
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Old Thursday 31st July 2008, 22:09   #7
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Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but I am going to be driving along the M40 from Junction 10 back to the M25 in a couple of weeks and this thread is pretty useful, as I am hoping to see kites.
What are the chances of me getting some photos? I have a 400mm lens, so would that be enough? And where would the best places be to stop and see the kites and get photos?

Cheers
VB
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Old Friday 1st August 2008, 09:05   #8
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Hi VB,
This may be some help!
I drive between Junction 2 (Beaconsfield) and the M25 every day and always see Red Kites at this junction. A mile east of this junction is a large counsel tip and I guess the kites are looking for food, along with a load of gulls. I counted 5 this morning.

If you come off at J2 and turn left at the roundabout you can park in the large layby.

This will not be the best place to see the kites but I dont know of any other.

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Old Friday 1st August 2008, 19:38   #9
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Thanks John.
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Old Friday 1st August 2008, 23:44   #10
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The best place to see kites close up is between junctions 4 & 6 of the M40. Driving east towards the M25, exit at junction 6, turn left, then right onto the A40, follow until you arrive at Stokenchurch, park up and then wait.

Alternatively, any of the small villages around Stokenchurch, (the core area), Watlington, Chinnor, Aston Rowant, Ibstone, etc etc are good places to see them.

Another good place to see them is to continue through Stokenchurch for a mile or so, and stop at the garden centre on the A40, at Studley Green (on the right hand side). Directions are on my website.

This is generally the place where kite watchers stop, as they also get to see a video I am showing at the moment of the kite chicks I took care of in June before they went up to Aberdeen. (Red kite greetings cards, etc are also for sale). Just ask the lady in the coffee shop to turn on the DVD to watch it.

You will be unlucky if you see less than a dozen or so. A 400mm lens is sufficient, depending of course where you park. Most of my images are taken between 200 and 300mm max.

More info on my website, which is all about the Chiltern kites. :) Any questions, PM me.

Last edited by Helen O : Friday 1st August 2008 at 23:50.
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Old Saturday 2nd August 2008, 18:48   #11
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Fantastic, Helen, many thanks.
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Old Saturday 2nd August 2008, 19:12   #12
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Another really good place to see them is Watlington
a couple of miles from J6 of the M40
I got really good views and pics from the car park
of the Fox and Hounds (good food stop too! )

Cheers
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Old Saturday 2nd August 2008, 19:16   #13
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I think the Fox and Hounds or the garden centre and cafe at Studley Green at might be a good place for lunch that Sunday then! I hope the weather's good...

The annoying thing is my sister, who lives in Reading and who is a definite non-birder, drives up the M40 several times a month to pick up her kids from their dad's in the Midlands and regularly sees Red Kites on the way. I can't have my non-birding sister seeing birds that are not yet on my life list!
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Old Saturday 2nd August 2008, 19:33   #14
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I stopped at Aston Rowant (just a few miles from junction 6) last weekend for butterflies, but I'd say this is one of the best places to photograph them, simply as you stand every chance of seeing them at eye level or from above. A footpath leads along the top of a steep escarpment and, while I was there, Red Kites sailed straight past, below me and at close range. I then drove through the lanes at random and had good views of several more roughly towards Christmas Common.
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Old Saturday 2nd August 2008, 19:50   #15
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Did you get any photos Jos?
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Old Saturday 2nd August 2008, 19:54   #16
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Did you get any photos Jos?
Erm, yes ...see below!
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Old Saturday 2nd August 2008, 20:03   #17
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But I guess you meant of the kites

Well, the story goes like this ...with the above fellow the target of the day, and not an easy one to find, my nose was firmly stuck to the round almost throughout. The blighters of kites, the ones I did see (I am sure most circled above me laughing) kept sneaking past, catching my attention by flapping just above my bum. Their game was obviously to see who could get Jos to swivel round and change lenses the fastest, added bonus to them if they could double flap that tail and twist out of view just in the nick of time.

Erm, it means my shots were bad, not due to the kites, but my preoccupation with little things that flutter in the grass.

See below...
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Old Saturday 2nd August 2008, 20:11   #18
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Yes, I meant the Kites, but the butterfly shot is nice, too!

If I get a half decent Kite pic, then I'll be pretty pleased.

I'm going to the Bird Fair and this will be a slight detour on my way home.
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Old Sunday 3rd August 2008, 13:41   #19
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I too would endorse Tony's note referring to the pub at Watlington.

the locals put scraps down in their back gardens so there is always plenty of birds in the air when I have visited, often immediately overhead and at good distances for photography. At one point I counted over twenty Red Kites in the air from the pub garden.

http://robinsbirds.blogspot.com/2008/06/kite-fest.html

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Old Sunday 3rd August 2008, 17:23   #20
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I too would endorse Tony's note referring to the pub at Watlington.

the locals put scraps down in their back gardens so there is always plenty of birds in the air when I have visited, often immediately overhead and at good distances for photography. At one point I counted over twenty Red Kites in the air from the pub garden.

http://robinsbirds.blogspot.com/2008/06/kite-fest.html

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Thanks Robin. The pub it is then!
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Old Wednesday 6th August 2008, 00:39   #21
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At one point I counted over twenty Red Kites in the air from the pub garden.

Regards
Robin
Is that all?

Groups of 20/30...ish isn't uncommon.

Although to be honest, this time of the year isn't the best, as they do tend to sit in the trees looking rather sorry for themselves. I have had more than 20 sitting in my garden at any one time. (woodland).

Autumn, winter and spring are the best times to see them in their full glory.

At the moment, one can listen to the sound of the young ones flying around, distinctly different from the call of the adult, and also rather loud when perching nearby!
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Old Sunday 17th August 2008, 16:47   #22
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I saw some Red Kites today, on the road just off the M40 towards Watlington. Got some decent pix, too! I'll pop them on my site later.

Thank you all for the info. Nice to see you at Bird Fair yesterday, Helen!
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