Please forward any sightings using this sheet, especially for those outside of the Lower Derwent Valley. This information can prove invaluable to our two Monitoring Teams. One Team tracks on the north of the A694, the second Team is responsible for the south side. This is a huge area, so we do value any sightings information which you may be willing to pass on to us via our Webmail.
For the reporting of a grounded or injured red kite please contact Friends of Red Kites on 07790085659 and arrangements will be made to collect the bird and commence recovery.
Breeding report Friends of Red Kites in the north-east of England.
FoRK are concerned that the population is not expanding as it should. This is the third consecutive season where there has been no apparent increase in breeding pairs. Comparisons with other regional release programmes, made after the same interval following the release of kites, show that the North-East has a significantly lower breeding population. If the national trend had been followed we could have expect a population by now of upwards of 50 breeding pairs. This problem is to be discussed with the RSPB and others.
Twenty nests were found and 17 pairs went on to produce eggs. Two of the other nests were built by unmated males and the third by a young pair that did not go on to lay eggs. The final results showed that, worryingly, nearly half the nests failed despite, in sharp contrast to 2012, the weather then being favourable from hatching until the fledging period. The nine remaining closely monitored pairs went on to fledge at least 18 young, compared with 13 pairs fledging 22 young in 2012. The fledging total was the absolute minimum as the outcome at two further localities was not known. In one area of mature woodland where an early nest appeared to have been abandoned during incubation, alarm-calling adults late in the season may have indicated the presence of young. Two of the successful pairs fledged broods of three young; five pairs had two young and the remaining two fledged single chicks.
Red Kites continue to go from strength to strength in many parts of the UK, though the North-East of England is proving an exception to the rule.
Once again all but two of the nests found were in the Derwent Valley. The exceptions were one in the Causey Gill, and one at a site near Wylam, close to the Northumberland boundary, which was used for the first time in four years and which produced at least one chick. Birds were also prominent during the season around the Derwent Reservoir, Blanchland, Edmundbyers, Muggleswick and the Derwent Gorges but once again, despite extensive searching, no nests were found.
2013 was the fourth year in which responsibility for monitoring was undertaken by FoRK, the organisation made up of former volunteers with the Northern Kite project that released 94 birds from the booming Chilterns population over a three-year period. Ringing, wing-tagging, the completion of BTO Nest Record Cards and liaison with the Rare Birds Breeding Panel was also undertaken.
In the Derwent Valley, several sites used regularly in recent years were unoccupied indicating that previous 'tenants' may have perished, but several new sites were found, one of them in a garden just 25 yards from the back of a bungalow. During June and July, 12 chicks at six nests were ringed by Keith Bowey, Ken Sanderson and Ian Kerr, aided by our regular climbers. Ten of them were wing-tagged with the normal Northern project tags of pink on the left wing and the 2013 year tag of yellow with black lettering on the right wing. Two of the ringed young were too small to tag. Other nests had young that were too large to handle safely and one was not found until the young had fledged.
An analysis of the seven failed nests showed that one was predated when it contained two young. Nest lining had been ripped out and was hanging over the edge. Another nest, predated at either the egg or small chick stage, showed similar damage and was just 30 yards from a successful Carrion Crow nest, perhaps a clue to the culprits. The cause of failure at the other seven was not established.
Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the start of the Northern Kites reintroduction project. FoRK is planning to increase the size of its monitoring teams in an effort to ensure that all potential areas are fully covered. The aim will be to recruit volunteers from the Durham and the Northumberland and Tyneside bird clubs, RSPB and other groups to 'adopt' potential areas and survey them for displaying birds in February and March and for evidence of breeding in April and May. This will aim to build on a one-day survey carried out during March 2013 when, despite appalling conditions with freezing winds, icy roads and heavy snow in upland areas, more than 30 volunteers turned out to search for kites.
Tuesday 20th August 2013
Monitoring our kites in the Derwent Valley
Wednesday 20th November 2013
Three Volunteers went out to Sherburn Towers at 3pm. A brilliant sun was gradually setting. In this photograph the fields and sheep are in the bright glow of the sun's angled rays. The distant hail shower could be seen from their viewpoint, but later, the sky turned to a deep indigo blue. The kites were clearly sheltering from this inclement weather, so the monitors called it a day.
Image courtesy of Harold Dobson
Sunday 10th November 2013
Mick Render reports:
Here are Sunday evening's photographs of the pylon which was used as a pre-roost. I couldn't photograph all of the Kites are some were behind the tree, which is in front of the pylon.
Also, Kites in the trees to the left of the pylon couldn't be seen; they were flying over the field so getting an accurate number wasn't possible until they flew into the roost itself.
Images courtesy of Mick Render
Our Monitoring teams are out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, covering the core region around Rowlands Gill and beyond. Here is a group at Winlaton Mill.
Look around you when you are walking, cycling or even riding on the Red Kite buses; the kites are likely to appear almost anywhere in the lower Derwent Valley, over housing estates and beyond.
Image courtesy of Paul Ratcliffe
Image courtesy of Lee Steadman
A red kite sporting red wing tags caught the eye of a local resident. It is Wing Tag Z3 from Argaty in mid-Stirlingshire, Scotland. The recorder of the Scottish kites is pleased to know that it is safe.
Image courtesy of Paul Ratcliffe
We have heard from Mike McDonnell, Head Ranger of the Argaty Kite Project in mid-Stirlingshire, in Scotland and he sends this photograph of WTZ3 as a chick, with its sibling WTZ2.
He reports: Red/Red Z3 was tagged on 13th June 2012 and appears to be a male from the biometrics. It was a brood of two in a Douglas fir on Dunira Estate, just North of us in Perthshire. I don't have any details of the parents I'm afraid!
Read more about the Argaty Kites Project here: https://www.facebook.com/argaty.redkites
Much of the work is thanks in no small measure to the constant monitoring done by our three Teams and other volunteers, who send in sightings from all over the region.
Causey Gill near Beamish
Images courtesy of June Atkinson
We hope that our Hexham Campaign Think Kite- Act Right will encourage Tynedale residents to look out for the kites and act as our Eyes to the Skies.
Guidance in 'Bird Photography - a new code of practice' published by British Birds covers both of these topics. www.britishbirds.co.uk/articles/bird-photography-%E2%80%93-a-new-code-of-practice