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Are there Red Kites near Stansted Airport? (1 Viewer)


Well Known For Being Inexperienced Member
In November of last year, I drove to Stansted Airport in London to get to Poland. The four hours staring out the window were very productive mostly due to the good weather with three kestrels hovering over the motorway (my first), two buzzards, one flying relatively low over a motorway bridge and the other high up, a pair of very high ravens, a pair of something else through the Chilterns, sadly too high to identify.

As we were nearing the car park of the airport, about five minutes away from the airport itself, a large bird of prey was soaring not more than 40m up. I saw it for all of fifteen seconds, but my brain told me that the wings looked wrong for a buzzard as the 'hand' was sort of swept back at an angle, the overall colour was relatively dark without a clear colour contrast I usually see with buzzards. Couldn't see clearly forked tail, not enough time sadly. I put it down as my first red kite, fairly certain it was one, but wanted to check if the location is right.

A bit of searching online failed to yield anything definitive, apart from a video of a red kite above the airport uploaded 8 years ago.

Any help would be much appreciated!


Attached is the E-Bird map showing Red Kites sightings around Stansted Airport. You can see the runway above the big red marker in the middle. A string of sightings have been seen north and south of it as you can see, from the M11. The area is not the main area for Red Kites, but they are seen across many areas of UK now. So its distinctly conceivable you saw one.
Thanks so much guys, I saw another one for sure today in Oxford. (City Centre, above Magdalene College) Must be good news if they’re everywhere like this!
I see them most weeks on a walk of an hour or two in London, near the north circular road - yesterday, there were three over the junction with the A10 at Edmonton. They seem unbothered by any degree of human activity/development/traffic/urban spaces etc.

The first I ever saw in London were in 1996, which at the time WAS a huge surprise, as they were over Scrubs Lane, south of Willesden junction. Not that far as the kite flies from the famous release site at Stokenchurch, and pretty much a straight line down the M40 and A40, but I'd never seen a report from London at that time.
I remember my first few sightings were from Rockingham Castle, gradually creeping eastwards a year or two at a time. Now they're a frequent sight everywhere I go, to the point where it'd be an unusual day's birding anywhere from Northamptonshire to Norfolk if I DIDN'T see at least one Red Kite!
Red kites are in a lot of places these days, keep seeing them in Peterborough
Kite can and do appear all over the country though they may not last too long in some areas especially areas where raptors are scarce.Often they are just passing through anyway.
In the old days we used to go to see them in mid-Wales each spring usually it was great especially the Elan valley which always seemed their natural habitat.

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