Click on Today or Tonight to see the weather forecast for the Gibside area.
Gibside Estate, a National Trust property, lies at the heart of red kite country.
BTO All change for Britain's birds
One of the most ambitious volunteer projects ever undertaken, to map all of our birds in both winter and the breeding season, and from every part of Britain and Ireland, is realised today with the publication of the Bird Atlas 2007-11, and the results are surprising. Over 40,000 volunteers spent four years scouring the countryside in search of birds, submitting their records to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), to integrate local information on bird numbers into coherent national pictures of the state of Britain and Ireland's bird populations, and finding some startling results along the way.
The Welsh Kite Trust Autumn Newsletter 2013
Click on the thumbnail image to bring up the 32 - page pdf file.
This Newsletter is bi-lingual, written in both English and Welsh.
For more information:
First red kite for the Farne Islands
From Birdguides 1 August 2013
A Black Kite flew over the Farne Islands (Northumberland) during the late morning of 30th and was closely followed by the islands' first Red Kite in the early afternoon! The Black later flew over nearby Bamburgh and was one of four reported this week: reports came from Barnby in the Willows and later Oxton (both Notts) on 27th, Cranford St. John (Northants) on 28th and near Cliffe (Kent) on 31st.
Red Kite Gateways for Rowlands Gill
Up-date on Media Coverage
Red Kite Gateways for Rowlands Gill
Ward councillors from Chopwell and Rowlands Gill ward, representing the views of local people, have for some time held aspirations to have some sort of prominent "Red Kite gateway feature" at Rowlands Gill that not only celebrates the Red Kite but also welcomes people to Rowlands Gill.
This project aims to build on the success and importance of the Northern Kites project and the successful release of the birds in the Derwent Valley by providing a bespoke public art gateway feature and associated road signage in Rowlands Gill.
The project supports the priorities outlined in Vision 2030, the Council's Strategic Community Plan, specifically the themes of:
• Creative Gateshead through the use of art ,and
• Gateshead Volunteers through the involvement of FORK's local volunteers who have contributed to and advised on the artwork depiction of the Red Kite. They have offered in kind (voluntary) input for planning meetings and commissioning the work. They have also liaised extensively with the chosen artist.
Historically, Red Kites, Milvus milvus, were our most widespread birds of prey. However, between the 16th and 19th centuries, persecution and extensive poisoning drastically reduced their number. By 1850 they had gone from North East England. A remnant population survived in mid-Wales. In 1989, a series of re-introductions of Red Kites commenced with our Northern Kites Project being the penultimate one from 2004-2009, involving the release of 94 birds in the Derwent Valley.
The Friends of Red Kites (FORK) was established in 2009 to continue the conservation of these majestic birds. They have promoted how our Red kites have proved to be both a catalyst for commerce and an inspiration for creative people in Gateshead's Derwent Valley.
Since their release they have proved to be a real inspiration for local people and visitors. They have been reflected in artwork, books, local walking trails, on local buses and have even had their own beer named after them. Local schools have adopted their own Red Kites and incorporated them into their curricular work.
The proposal combines two elements, bespoke artwork depicting the Red Kite along with gateway signage that welcomes visitors into Rowlands Gill. Gateway features will be located both at the Eastern and Western entries to Rowlands Gill and will attempt to capture the majesty of the birds. The signage will include the place name and carry a message highlighting the Red kites, Rowlands Gill - Gateshead Derwent Valley - Red Kite Country".
Numerous funding sources were considered and approached without success. The Council does not have a mainline budget to provide new gateway features within the borough but the Local Community Fund was seen to offer an opportunity to combine the provision of art and gateway signage together for the benefit of local people and visitors. It is anticipated that the gateway features will be fully installed by the end of August 2013.
UP-DATE: the plinths for the signs are now in place and it is hoped to have the Gateway signs installed sometime this month. (Anna Pepperall)
Craig Knowles - Artist Sculptor
The artist commissioned to undertake the work is Craig Knowles, a local artist blacksmith sculptor operating out of Simpson Street Studios in Sunderland.
FORK, as well as local ward councillors and Council Officers have constantly engaged with Craig throughout his design process to offer advice along the way. Once complete it is hoped that Craig's artwork will provide a welcoming representation of the Red Kite that will capture the imagination of local people and visitors as they enter the village.
Image courtesy of June Atkinson
Blacksmith, Chapel Cottage Forge, Burton on Trent, Jan 1992 - Mar 1992
Assisted the construction of wrought-iron gates for Leicester Cathedral. Directly responsible for the creation and completion of the decorative infill.
Blacksmith, Newlyn Forge, Herts, July 1990 - Jan 1992
Assisted private commissions; designing, forging, finishing and on-site fixing.
Fabricator / Welder, Iron Art, Bath June 1987- July 1990
General metalwork applied to furniture and decorative railings.
Commissions & Projects
Gala Days and Work Bridge Alba Park, Lambton, County Durham.
Diving Belle and Bathing Belle Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
Wind and Fire East Shore Village, Seaham, County Durham.
Waterfall Canopy Pudding Chare, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Rose Arbors Mowbray Park, Sunderland.
Domain Field (Welding technician & assistant.) BALTIC Center for Customary Art, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear.
The Three Healers Chester-le-street hospital.
The Seasons (Doorstep Greens initiative) New Herrington, Tyne & Wear.
Seldom Seen (Doorstep Greens initiative) Springwell, Tyne & Wear.
Artist in Residence, St Peters Riverside, Sunderland, 1994 - 1998
Funded by Tyne & Wear Development Corporation to produce public art works for the regeneration of a former Industrial Site as part of the "Art On The Riverside" strategy. Working closely with other artists and the community to produce sculptural and functional metalwork. Managed by the Artists' Agency, Sunderland.
Artist in residence, South Stanley Green Corridor, Co Durham, 2000
A project working with local residents and seven schools to produce sculpture and waymarkers for South Stanley Green Corridor, Project managed by Groundwork east Durham.
Artist in residence, Hilden Street, Art school, Bolton, Lancs, 1999
A project working with local residents and St Vincent's Housing Association. To produce gates and railings for the conversion of the old art collage into housing.
Artist in residence, Blackfyne School, Consett, 1998 - 1999
A project involving pupils and staff of the school, to create sculptural elements for the school grounds. The project has been set up and managed by the Consett Acorn Trust.
Gary Carr, Neighbourhood Management
Anna Pepperall, Public Art
Friends of Red Kites
Information: courtesy of Anna Pepperall, PUBLIC ART CURATOR Development and Enterprise Gateshead Council
Café at Thornley Woodlands Centre
A café is on a six-week trial. Week-days: 10.30am until 2pm. Saturday and Sunday: 11am until 3pm
Here is Emma, of Bill Quay Farm, ready to welcome everyone.
RSPB puts up £1,000 reward to tackle birds of prey shootings
THE RSPB has put up a £1,000 reward for information after the fourth buzzard in four months was shot in an area of North Yorkshire.
Police are investigating the shooting of the female buzzard, which was found just north of Kirbymoorside in Farndale.
Gunshot was found in the bird's wing and bone fragments were sticking out of the injury. Animal welfare experts believe it had spent as long as ten days in this state and it had to be put down by vets.
The RSPB had only recently been celebrating the successful reintroduction of buzzards to the east of England.
The latest crime has prompted the organisation to put up a cash reward for anyone who provides information that will lead to a conviction.
The officer in charge of the investigation, PC Stewart Ashton from North Yorkshire Police said it was likely more birds have been killed in the area.
He said: "This is the fourth buzzard reported to have been shot in Ryedale over the past four months. This figure alone is disturbing but due to the hidden nature of the crime, this figure will not be a true portrayal of the number of raptors being killed."
Jean Thorpe from the Ryedale Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre had collected the buzzard and taken it immediately to a veterinary surgery for treatment.
She said: "To know this fine buzzard was deliberately shot and could not survive the wild life it should have had, is a disgrace. Shame on whoever did this deed."
In 2011 the RSPB named North Yorkshire as the UK's worst black spot for crimes against birds of prey, saying there were more incidents recorded in the region than in Scotland, Wales and all of England's southern counties combined in 2010.
Species including goshawks, red kites, hen harrier and peregrine falcons have all been targeted by shooting or poisoning in the past few years.
According to the charity nearly 75 per cent of those convicted of bird of prey crimes had ties to game shooting and an interest in removing potential predators from grouse moors.
They have submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Environment Audit Committee stating there is a "strong body of scientific evidence" linking raptor persecution with upland moors managed for grouse shooting.
Anyone with information should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
News from Scotland
08 May 2013
A report passed to us from Mark Shilcock , OurGateshead.org
I thought that you would be interested to know that a friend saw a raptor with a white wing tag on the right wing - identification No E4.
The sighting was a couple of miles North East of Chapelhall in Lanarkshire.
Having searched on the internet, the only E4 which I could find was Red Kite "Mile Star" from your website.
I guess this is the same bird, especially as it was seen in early April near Muir of Ord.
I only heard of the sighting recently, so it is not possible to give an accurate date for the sighting, but as far as can be remembered it was during week ending 28th April.
There have been no further sightings of the bird in the same area.
I do not know much about raptor tagging, presumably all tags are unique so that there will not be two birds with the same tag?
Any comments or information on any further sighting would be appreciated.
James Mc Kinven
We are confident that this could well be our Wing tag E4. Maybe it is on its way home!
30 Mar 2013
Wing tag E4 has been identified in Muir of Ord, twenty miles north-west of Inverness.
Images courtesy of David Johnstone
David and Linda Johnstone share their news:
We live on the outskirts of Muir of Ord on an elevated area with a woodland to the side and open fields to the front. We started feeding buzzards only around 8 years ago, shortly after this the odd Red kite put in an appearance. The Red Kites increased over time and on average we would get between 4 - 6 Kites and 3- 4 buzzards. Year on year the number gradually came up then last year we seemed regularly get into double figures, the buzzard numbers also seem to be on the rise.
We normally only feed every other day and in the late afternoon around 16:00, last year we noticed that the Kites were starting to appear from 1-2 hours before hand and sitting in the trees around our house. We have been in regular contact with RSPB Red Kite Project officer Brian Etheridge, he has attended our home many times to observe the feeding and offered expert advice on this fascinating bird. Unfortunately the Kite numbers have not increased to the same level in the Highlands as other areas in the UK, which makes the rise in number of birds we are attracting all the more pleasing.
Since the beginning of the year we have been feeding every day and the numbers have risen dramatically, we regularly attract around 25 Red kites and between 6 -11 buzzards all feeding at the same time. Unusually the Red Kites will actually sit down in the garden along with the buzzards. We have put some recent video footage on Youtube so you can see, if you search for "Ord kites" you will find them.
Interestingly one of the Black Isle red kites came to visit us not long ago, WT 8P Royal Blue/Red, 2012.
E4's flight was 279.7 miles!
Wing tag E4 History
Wing Tag Left/Right:
Pink / White
2011 Gibside, Gateshead
Father- WT C1 Angel / Mother- WT60 Welbeck Whistler
Befriend a Kite School:
Milecastle Primary School
When WTE4 was tagged, along with sibling WTE5, the nest was found in an Scots pine. WTE4 can only be identified by a visual sighting.
WTE4 has been seen in the area in August and October, and also at the winter pre-roost at Hollinside Manor.
December 2011 - Identified on three occasions at pre roost near Hollinside Manor, Gateshead.
30/01/2012 -Identified at pre roost, Hollinside Manor.
22/10/2012 - recorded at pre roost, Hollinside Manor
09/11/2012 -Identified at pre roost, perched on pylon near Hollinside Manor
THE RED KITE GOES RACING!!
Not only did the Team win the overall competition, thereby winning a place in the National Finals in London in March, but they also won prizes for the "Fastest Car" and the "Best Engineered Car".
Friends of Red Kites have again agreed to sponsor the Red Kite Racing Team (Seniors) from Emmanuel College, Gateshead. The Team is participating in the "Formula 1 (F1) in Schools" international competition in which groups of children (aged 11-18) have to design and manufacture a miniature "car" out of balsa wood using CAD/CAM design tools. The cars are powered by a C02 cartridge and attached to a track by a thin wire. They are timed, by computer, from launch to passing a finishing line 24 metres away. In addition to the time trials, the teams are judged on the engineering and design of their car, a portfolio and a verbal presentation.
Emily Miller, Team Marketing and Sponsorship Co-ordinator, says: "This year we are going for an ambitious design in producing the front and rear of the car out of plastic and keeping the central body as balsa wood. The FoRK sponsorship will go towards the production of the 3D plastic". The regional F1 in Schools competition will be held at the Business School, Newcastle University on Tuesday 12th February . We can follow the Team's endeavours on their website: http://redkiteracing.webs.com
REPORT FROM THE F1 RACING TEAM 20March 2013
The competition was a huge success! Although we didn't place in the top three, we won the knockout competition out of 30 teams so have won tickets to go to Friday Practice at the Silverstone Grand Prix and go in to the paddock. We also gave one of the top three verbal presentations and judges said they were impressed with our whole team.
Unfortunately, we will have to hand over to the next generation of Red Kite Racing, but we are hopeful that they will be just as successful (and hopefully even more successful) than we have been. We will soon be in touch telling you who the new members of the team are.
Once again many thanks for your support over the years,
We send them our heartiest congratulations and best wishes for their future study and careers.
If you are interested in talking to someone about the red kites in the Lower Derwent Valley and the wildlife of Gateshead, then have you visited Thornley Woodlands Centre (on the A694 between Winlaton Mill and Rowlands Gill) ?
The Centre is staffed by Gateshead Volunteer Countryside Rangers who will be happy to have a chat about what you can do, and what's about, in the Derwenthaugh and Derwent Walk Country Parks and the 22 nature reserves in the area. The Centre also sells a key for the six hides in Gateshead including Far Pastures and Shibdon Pond. Staff can also inform about the nearby sculpture trail and the Red Kite Trail as well as providing information about the red kites. Our Secretary, Harold Dobson, is a Volunteer Ranger there every Friday. Here are a couple of photos taken recently. The first shows Harold entertaining the Workman family from Whickham.
This second image is of Jackey Lockwood (FoRK Health Walks Co-ordinator and also Volunteer Ranger) and Harold, taken at the reception desk with Steve Rutherford (Senior Ranger).
Images courtesy of June Atkinson
[The Centre has toilet facilities and is open 10.00 - 14.00 weekdays and 13.00 - 16.00 weekends. Tea, coffee & hot chocolate are available for £1.00]
Image courtesy of Harold Dobson