Wandering in Wales - Day 2 Gigrin Farm - 27th August afternoon
Gigrin farm is only a 15 minute drive from Rhayader and it is here that they feed the red kites. There are a number of hides for people to stand in based on one side of a field and at 3.00pm in the summer and 2.00pm in the winter a tractor comes onto the field and scatters a large amount of meat in. The red kites, a few buzzards and a number of crows gather waiting for this event and as soon as the meat is down start to feed. They seem to come in waves, it will go quiet for several minutes and then a large number of birds will come in to pounce on the food. I couldn't count how many kites there were in the sky at any one time but there must have been at least 50. It is thrilling to hear their wingbeats over the top of the hide.
Before dinner we went for a short walk through the forest above the reservoirs, and then later I was treated to another sunset tour of the valley.
I was using the Nikon D800 to photograph them, either with my 70-200mm lens and a 1.4 teleconverter, or more commonly my old Sigma 400mm, which is fine as long as you keep it on f8. I went in to the lowest priced hide just for photographers. The view was no different but there was only one other couple in there. The ordinary hides were packed full and had numbers of screaming, bored children in there. As it was only about £5 extra the peace was well worth it.
Here are a few pictures of individual birds.
The re-introduction of the red kite has been a remarkable success story. They have now been seen occasionally over my home village Arkesden, on the Essex/Cambridge/Hertfordshire border. I only hope they will not threaten our resident buzzards which we have only had for the last 10 years or so.
|Farm dog at Gigrin - looking at Hettie|