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Red Kite

Pete Catterall (April)

Whilst out mountain biking at the Nant yr Arian forestry centre near Aberwystwth this weekend we stopped to take a few photos. A few minutes later this Red Kite flew right over my head. Although I didn't have a 'big' lens with me I was fortunate enough to have chosen my digital SLR so I managed to capture the moment pretty well.

Throughout the centuaries red kites were persecuted in the UK and hunted almost to the point of
extinction but thanks to a hugely successful breading programme in Mid Wales there are now over 300 red kites in the Mid Wales area alone.

If you are lucky enough to see a red kite in Snowdonia it should be easy enough to identify. Reddy-brown with obvious white patches under its wings and a white head with a bright yellow beak and legs.It will also have the tell-tale v-shaped tail you can see clearly in this shot which is actively twisted and used as a highly effective rudder.
Red kites have wingspan of around two metres, but are relatively small, weighing only of 2-3 Ibs which makes them incredibly agile. efficient and graceful fliers. They seem to hang in the air with hardly a flap of their wings.

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