Despite extremes in the weather in the spring and early summer, red kites have done better than expected with a minimum of thirty-three chicks fledging from nineteen known successful nests this breeding season. This was the highest number since 2014. Four nests failed, one being predated by crows. The cause of the other failures could not be determined.
Twelve youngsters were ringed in June with eight of these being developed enough to wing tag. The 2019 colour for the right wing tag was blue. For further details go to "Wing Tagging and Ringing''.
In early July, a wet and exhausted chick was found grounded on Medomsley bank. It was wing tag O2, so we knew that it was a fledged youngster from the nest near Derwentcote. The juvenile had not sustained any injuries so, after being kept in rehab for several days where it was well fed, it was successfully released back into the wild at the natal site.
The number of known occupied territories, after being stable the last couple of years, was slightly higher, at around forty-two to forty-four, but has not quite got back to the high of forty-five of 2015.
There appears to be a drift of breeding pairs from the lowest part of the Derwent valley into the Hamsterley Mill/Derwentcote/Spen Banks/ Chopwell Wood areas. There is evidence that pairs are spreading out from the Derwent Valley with the confirmed breeding of two pairs near Snod’s Edge, one pair near Riding Mill in addition to the established pair at Causey Gill, near Stanley. Also, there is evidence of up to seven territories being occupied at Whitley Chapel, Harwood Shield, Viewley, Minsteracres, Hunstantworth, Blanchland, Edmundbyers and Muggleswick, with possible successful breeding in two of those areas following sightings of juvenile kites.