Diving Kites

Red Kites, an advocate for conservation and a much-loved bird by all, they are a welcomed sight as they soar so effortlessly above our countryside once again. They have been high on my list for years and the closest and best place for me to photograph them is Gigrin Farm in mid Wales, just outside of the town Rhayader, a mere 2.5 hour drive from me here in Staffordshire. With good snow showers forecasted I made the effort to visit and I sussed it would be a good place for me to test out my new Nikon 600mm F4 VR lens. I love driving through the Welsh landscape, the snowcapped hills fill me joy and as I neared the odd glimpse of a Red Kite got me somewhat fired up for the action I knew I was in for later that day… As Red Kites became more common arriving in Rhayader I was beyond excited and soon enough I found myself stood behind my 600mm ready in the big tower hide. Before the tractor had even delivered food, the kites and Buzzards were already circling and within a blink in turned into a free-for-all feeding frenzy. At first I struggled, especially with the big lens, I was losing focus due to other kites photo-bombing and diving in front of the birds I was tracking and after a little while and reviewing a few images things were looking good and thats when the l noticed a diving sequence in focus. I couldn’t actually believe what I was seeing. The kites dip their shoulder and rocket to the ground in an instance, sometimes so quick I couldn’t follow but luckily on this occasion luck was on my side. After a little happy-dance and a chuckle to myself, I continued to photograph until the action and food had gone. All-in-all it was one of the best afternoons of photography I have had. The number of Red Kites is mind-boggling and the sound is a delight. As for the good snow forecast, that didn’t hold it’s end of the deal, however the light was near-perfect and I returned home more than pleased with my images… Red Kites, tick! What a start to the year and next week I head to Iceland for some Aurora photography (fingers crossed!).