I did try counting them, but they were moving at such speed and constantly changing position, however the reliable figure for that day was around 400 Red Kites . At 1400 hrs the food appeared from the bucket of a tractor, which apparently had been changed a few days before, so the new tractor was making the Kites more nervous (honestly I did not notice). Other Birds joined in for the free meat. A Heron, Common Buzzard were around already and flew straight on to the ground whilst interestingly the Carrion Crows, Ravens and Rooks were much more nervous than I would have thought. The cheeky ones were three Starling who got out before any of them grabbed the meat and flew off. Back to the Buzzards, with only one Red Kite coming to ground to feed and the others all swooping in grabbing a bit of meat, eating it in the air, and then coming back for more. Where ever a Buzzard was sat quite happily munching on the ground, the Kites would gang up and quite deliberately dive bomb and snatch the pieces of meat that was the closest to any Buzzard that waas sat on the ground, this seemed to be planned with Kites working together to try and put the Buzzards off.
Buzzard tries to defend itself, obviously it will need an aspirin in the morning for this headache
Three Kites dive past two Buzzards, note Buzzards stay put for now
Do you sometimes get that feeling your being watched?
The spectacle went on for nearly 2 hours before the Birds started to disperse away from the feeding area. In that time I had seen many Red Kites and really close. Some interesting behaviour between Red Kites and Buzzards, and of course one of my favourite group of Birds the Corvides who also did not let me down with their presence, and I nearly forgot the one Heron who joined in as well. Gigrin Farm is really well worth a visit if you have not been, indeed now seeing this for myself, I can't wait to return and see this great spectacle again. I did have the camera with me as you can see, however it was quite a dull day so the ISO is running quite high on my Canon EOS 30D this to keep the shutter speed high enough for the flying birds. However may I suggest to people who go to take pictures, to go twice, once to enjoy it, and the other time to take pictures. I found it extremely difficult to do both, hence there are not many pictures.
Red Kite at Gigrin Farm note the wing tags