The story of the female red kite, tagged Orange/Red 7
Our story begins in 2000 at Harewood Estate, West Yorkshire when the first confirmed successful Red Kite breeding in recent times occurred in Yorkshire. It involved an older female, which had been rescued from a cattle drinking trough in the Chilterns and cared for by the Zoological Society of London and a young male of Chilterns origin, released in the Yorkshire reintroduction programme by Doug Simpson MBE at Harewood in 1999.
They bred successfully in subsequent years and in 2003 produced two young which were tagged as Orange/Red 6 and Orange/Red 7. The former stayed in the Harewood area whilst the subject of this story decided to move to East Yorkshire where it was found in the company of Orange/Red 23.
They bred successfully in 2005 and to the best of our knowledge O/R 7 has done so every year since.
Initially, with permission from the estate of the nest location we were able to closely monitor the pair through the breeding season. Knowing the red kite’s habit of ‘decorating’ the nest with all sorts of articles, in one year the area beneath was covered in tissues. It was as though the birds had managed to carry a box up to the nest and proceeded to use the contents!
But then in 2008 an incident, nothing to do with Yorkshire Red Kites occurred elsewhere that prompted the estate to remove our access for close monitoring. In this same year we noted that in viewing from the public highway, the male seen breeding with Orange/Red 7 didn’t have any wing tags showing, so it is possible the original male, Orange/Red 23 had lost his tags. However this particular male bird had lost one of his left wing primary (the big ‘fingers’ at the end of the wing) feathers making him easy to distinguish right through the breeding season where he gained the name of ‘Gappy’ from one of our observers. So from that year on, instead of being able to count young in the nest we had to wait until any young that successfully fledged were to be seen flying above the nest site viewed from the public highway.
This method of monitoring has remained the same in subsequent years with the added complication that the estate owners have planted a double row of Leylandii conifers, not usually seen on farmland in the area, that have gained considerable height making our observations difficult.
However what we do know is that Orange/Red 7, now 14 years old successfully raised at least 1 young in 2017 that brings her total to at least 21 since 2005.
Our thanks go to Michael Flowers for capturing these images of her in Oct 2017 showing that the grand old lady is still flying free.
East Yorkshire Bulletin (7)
Bulletin No. 7 September 2013.
This bulletin complements the Yorkshire Red Kites Newsletter Issue 15 now available at: www.yorkshireredkites.net
We continue to remain confident about the long term success of the East Yorkshire Red Kite population, being pleased to report that 11 breeding pairs were known to have been successful this year, an increase of 3 from 2012. As in previous years, monitoring showed a tendency for several established pairs to ‘up sticks’ and move to new nest sites. A further pair deserted their nest site after apparently being disturbed. Although they remained in the area, we were unable to locate their breeding site.
As we do not have access to three known nest sites, we have had to resort to observing from the public highway. As in 2012, the regular presence of birds at two of them and the sighting of fledged young indicated that both were successful this season. We are also grateful to the people who informed us of 4 new nest sites.
Read more: East Yorkshire Bulletin (7)
YRK Newsletter (15)
Newsletter – Issue (15)
This issue of the Newsletter highlights two landmarks reached by the Yorkshire Red Kite Project. Firstly, Issue 14 recorded that there had been 94 territorial pairs of kites located in Yorkshire in 2012. Details of 6 further pairs have since been received, bringing the total number of confirmed territorial pairs in 2012 to exactly 100. Secondly, the number of young known to have been raised in Yorkshire nests has now topped the 1000 mark. More information about the birds and the Project is available on the website, where there is also a facility for reporting sightings and other information.
Breeding in 2013:
Territorial pairs: The checking of sites which were occupied in 2012 showed 17 territories to be vacant. This was half-expected at two locations, one of the adults from each pair having died due to illegal poisoning and accidental causes, respectively. Both were tagged, one being from the Northern Kites’ release near Gateshead whilst the other was from Wales, the first kite of Welsh origin known to have bred in Yorkshire.
Pairs were located at 24 sites at which a presence had not been recorded in 2012. It is likely that these were a combination of new pairs; pairs which had been present but had been previously undetected and some which had moved from other locations.Overall, 99 territorial pairs were located, a fractional decrease on the 2012 figure of 100. It is encouraging that some of these pairs were in new areas, so confirming the gradual geographical spread of the population away from the core area. Three pairs were in residential gardens and 7 pairs were on golf courses.
It is of particular concern that the number of pairs in the western part of the established breeding range has significantly reduced. This coincides with the ongoing detection of illegally poisoned birds, this being an issue which is being addressed by Natural England and North Yorkshire Police.
Confirmed breeding: 88 breeding pairs were confirmed – 7 fewer than in 2012. 75 pairs were successful and raised at least 144 young.
Read more: YRK Newsletter (15)
Despite efforts to try and save Worlaby Carrs the land has been lost to the plough. Please see http://sandkspavin.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-end-of-worlaby-carrs.html
Our Original Story:
Many Yorkshire birdwatchers will have been to Worlaby Carrs, North Lincs to see the annual winter spectacle of short eared owls with up to 24 counted in the air at the same time.
Worlaby Carrs is rough pasture and has been left unworked since 2000 as part of a Higher Level Countryside Stewardship in an agreement between the owner and DEFRA. This agreement runs out on September 30, 2013 and the owner has indicated that he may plough the area up and plant arable crops.
If this happens, there is no suitable alternative in the area for the owls that arrive in October, then leave in March.
Other species that may be seen there include:
Hen and marsh harriers, kestrels, peregrines, merlins and both common and rough legged buzzards, snipe and other wading birds.
There is an e-petition for the Carrs to be preserved that you may be interested to sign:
It would be an inconceivable tragedy if this nationally, vitally important area of habitat was to be lost.
East Yorkshire Bulletin (6) added 21st Sept 2012
Bulletin No. 6 September 2012. This bulletin complements the Yorkshire Red Kites Newsletter Issue 14 now available at: www.yorkshireredkites.net
The overall figures for the 2012 breeding season show an increase in new young so we continue to remain confident about the long term success of the East Yorkshire Red Kite population. We are pleased to report that 8 known breeding pairs were indeed successful, an increase of 2 from 2011. Several tangible factors resulted in nest site monitoring being particularly difficult again, just as in previous years, with a trend for established pairs to ‘up sticks’ and move to new nest sites.
Unfortunately, 1 established pair which was inadvertently disturbed in 2011, resulting in them ‘deserting’, failed to return to the nest site this season.
As we do not have access to three known nest sites, we have had to resort to observing from the public highway. The regular presence of birds at two of them and the sighting of fledged young indicated that both were successful this season.
We and the owners of nest site EY11 were delighted that the pair, new but unsuccessful in 2011, decided to return and this time bred successfully.
Read more: East Yorkshire Bulletin (6) added 21st Sept 2012