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Thread: Red Kite in Cricklewood, NW London

  1. #1
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Red Kite in Cricklewood, NW London

    Ever since the reintroduction of the red kite in Buckinghamshire and its explosive spread, I've been wondering when they'd make it to my part of NW London. Today was the first time I've seen one here in Cricklewood, NW London.

    I was standing at a bus top and I noticed that the pigeons were going mad and then I saw a large, dark bird of prey lazily circling above them. Luckily I got some photos, although they aren't great.





    Click for the full size pic. The kite is roughly in the middle below lamp post head.


    I'm fairly sure that the tail is the key identification point here.

    If anyone's interested, the sighting location was here: 51.56120257926442, -0.2135012645506333
    Last edited by markrlondon; 7th December 2022 at 23:46.

  2. #2
    It's nice to see them spreading and if they can feast on the rats of the skies, so much the better.

    I remember seeing them on trips to Wales and when visiting friends in N Yorkshire a few years back, they are impressive!

  3. #3
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkpw View Post
    It's nice to see them spreading and if they can feast on the rats of the skies, so much the better.
    I don't think they hunt birds or anything else that's alive. Afaik they are purely carrion eaters. But the pigeons don't know that.

    I know that in Didcot in Oxfordshire some people feed them in their back gardens.

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    They were known as shitehawks in Shakespear's time as they were happy to eat the contents of middens. I always see them by Motorways, it started as you went down the long hill towards Kingston Blount on the M40 and then it was the M4, M3, M25 and now they are down the M20 as far as Folkestone. It's been meteoric, narrowly faster than the bloody parrots which only used to be in Esher.

  5. #5
    Master Sinnlover's Avatar
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    We have had one in Ealing for a bit (could be the same bird)
    It hangs about the Walpole and Lammas Parks. Itís nice to see.

  6. #6
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    We have one that lives in a tree at the back of the garden - very lucky.
    It has scared various people as it swoops into the garden and almost grazes their head on its way to the tree. Itís so silent that you donít notice it until it has gone past.
    Also has dog fights in the sky with various crows and the like.
    There was a pair but we found one dead in the garden some years back.

  7. #7
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bambam View Post
    We have one that lives in a tree at the back of the garden - very lucky.
    It has scared various people as it swoops into the garden and almost grazes their head on its way to the tree. Itís so silent that you donít notice it until it has gone past.
    Also has dog fights in the sky with various crows and the like.
    There was a pair but we found one dead in the garden some years back.
    Very lucky to have one living so close, but sad about the dead one.

    Hopefully he or she will find a new mate.

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    Master Iceblue's Avatar
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    Bedfordshire is usually a daily thing seeing them and to be honest I never get tired off seeing them ,although they always seem to be getting harassed by blackbirds mid flight

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    Grand Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    One morning a few months ago I was walking to work in Hammersmith and a murder of crows were raising noisy hell so I looked up to see them dive-bombing two red kites who were just floating about like they couldn't care less.

    Pretty impressive and kind of weird seeing them in a built up area with office blocks everywhere.

  10. #10
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceblue View Post
    Bedfordshire is usually a daily thing seeing them and to be honest I never get tired off seeing them ,although they always seem to be getting harassed by blackbirds mid flight

    Yep. Literally everywhere around here - it seems that they have territories of perhaps a few hundred metres diameter, and then there is another one.

    I went to the Hellfire Caves near Aylesbury (where they were reintroduced twenty or so years ago) and if you climb up the hill to the old monastery you can look down on them - the sky is teeming with them and buzzards.

    Quite a sight.
    So clever my foot fell off.

  11. #11
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    I thought this was going to be about a pub.

  12. #12
    they fly above my house all the time, i tried to photograph them but they seem to fly very high.

    then i was sat in a car on a housing estate and to my astonishment there were dozens of them landing in the gardens.

    the locals were feeding them and i could see many large nests in nearby trees.

  13. #13
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xellos99 View Post
    they fly above my house all the time, i tried to photograph them but they seem to fly very high.
    To my surprise, I discovered that some high-flying large birds that resemble birds of prey are cormorants! Like gulls, these were once mainly sea birds but they have started to inhabit inland lakes. From time to time they circle on updrafts to a considerable height in the way that vultures, kites or buzzards do.

    This thread from 2012 is about a cormorant I saw doing this from my back garden in Cricklewood. It most likely lived on the Welsh Harp reservoir: https://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.p...hered-variety)

    I see that the pictures have been lost. I should still have them somewhere and I'll try to recover them.

    ** update **

    I've updated https://forum.tz-uk.com/showthread.p...hered-variety) to correctly link to the pictures once again.
    Last edited by markrlondon; 5th December 2022 at 14:35.

  14. #14
    I rarely go a day without seeing at least a couple of Kites up here in North Norfolk. Most Iíve seen at any time is 8 on a drive to work. They seem to fly a lot lower than they have in the past, I think theyíre attracted to all the pheasant and Muntjack roadkill we have on nearly every road at the moment!


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    We have a few around our way, love watching them.

    Walking back from the village pub there were 5-6 circling and swooping down into a back garden. No idea what was in there, some poor terrified pet rabbit - who knows. Was amazing to watch.

  16. #16
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mj2k View Post
    No idea what was in there, some poor terrified pet rabbit - who knows. Was amazing to watch.
    People put food out for them.

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    Grand Master JasonM's Avatar
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    I happened to see one at head height taking off from my garden a couple of years ago, I think it had mistaken my dogs fluffy toy for carrion and had landed to pick it up.
    Cheers..
    Jase

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    Master vagabond's Avatar
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    The Red Kites are the "pigeons" in Aylesbury. (I don't mean that in a bad way, just how common they are)

  19. #19
    There's a golf course I play at has a couple of pairs (maybe juveniles?. I more often than not see them walking on the fairways.

    On my local course this summer a buzzard was mobbed by crows a few meters above my head. Neither the buzzard or I saw it coming and we were both very alarmed!

    I also spotted a very large grass snake on the course this year too.

  20. #20
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Back in the early 2000's we'd see them over Henley, particularly over the Business school, in the last couple of years they're now ooop ere in South Yorks, TBF I get a kick out of a common buzzard or a Kestrel.
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

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    Master sweets's Avatar
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    My sister in law's family lives in Maidenhead, it is a rare minute when you don't see one over their garden, they are everywhere. And no buzzards.
    Here round Bristol, it is the buzzards that have filled that ecological niche, you never see kites here.
    It is great to see them back, having been decimated by being apex scavengers and the chlorine based pesticides killing off most of their respective populations before their more recent re-colonisation.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by guinea View Post
    There's a golf course I play at has a couple of pairs (maybe juveniles?. I more often than not see them walking on the fairways.

    On my local course this summer a buzzard was mobbed by crows a few meters above my head. Neither the buzzard or I saw it coming and we were both very alarmed!

    I also spotted a very large grass snake on the course this year too.
    Are you absolutely sure it wasn't a slow worm?

  23. #23
    There are hundreds of them around my area on the border of West and North Yorkshire and their numbers have steadily increased over the last few years to the point that now you can't look up at the sky without seeing one. I even had to stop the car in the middle of the road recently as 5 or 6 of them came down picking/fighting over something on the ground. I still love seeing them as they are so graceful in flight.

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    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markrlondon View Post
    I don't think they hunt birds or anything else that's alive. Afaik they are purely carrion eaters. But the pigeons don't know that.

    I know that in Didcot in Oxfordshire some people feed them in their back gardens.
    They prefer easy carrion and will scavenge a carcass after e.g. a buzzard has killed a bird. But they will also take easy live prey, e.g. rats.
    "After a certain age you got the face you deserve I think" ... Henri Cartier-Bresson

  25. #25
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundial View Post
    They prefer easy carrion and will scavenge a carcass after e.g. a buzzard has killed a bird. But they will also take easy live prey, e.g. rats.
    That's interesting, thanks.

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    Master Filterlab's Avatar
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    I know nothing about bird watching, and even less about ornithology. Can someone tell me why the re-introduction of the Red Kite was so important; are they vital for food chain balance, or pest control?

  27. #27
    Strange (to me anyway) how they are in one area but not another, similar one. Sister lives near Maidenhead and as said there's loads. Here in Essex buzzards are now common but not RKs.

    Is it one or the other?

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    Master DMC102's Avatar
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    They're commonplace around here in Berkshire. As I sit typing this, there's a couple wheeling around and whistling, and often there'll be half a dozen or more.

    I'm always surprised that so many such large birds can find enough to eat in urban areas like this.

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    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMC102 View Post
    They're commonplace around here in Berkshire. As I sit typing this, there's a couple wheeling around and whistling, and often there'll be half a dozen or more.

    I'm always surprised that so many such large birds can find enough to eat in urban areas like this.
    Rats, mice, carrion, McD's, KFC etc...
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

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    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filterlab View Post
    I know nothing about bird watching, and even less about ornithology. Can someone tell me why the re-introduction of the Red Kite was so important; are they vital for food chain balance, or pest control?
    They are a native species that was almost extirpated and there's always an impetus to re-introduce lost species.

    I think red kites get a lot of attention because they are such impressive and obvious creatures and their success after re-introduction has been remarkable.

  31. #31
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Strange (to me anyway) how they are in one area but not another, similar one. Sister lives near Maidenhead and as said there's loads. Here in Essex buzzards are now common but not RKs.

    Is it one or the other?
    Although I can imagine that a well-entrenched population of competing animals might hold them back, I think it's also a matter of progress of spread. The kites in southern England were re-introduced in Buckinghamshire and have spread out from there. The red kite I saw is the first one I've seen here in NW London. Essex is further away and so it will take them longer to get there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markrlondon View Post
    They are a native species that was almost extirpated and there's always an impetus to re-introduce lost species.

    I think red kites get a lot of attention because they are such impressive and obvious creatures and their success after re-introduction has been remarkable.
    Thanks for that, I had no idea. Never seen one but rarely do I look at birds in the sky.

    I say "rarely", I actually mean 'never'.

  34. #34
    Grand Master markrlondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PickleB View Post
    Thanks for that, not seen it.

    My sighting in Cricklewood would have been one of the slightly more urban sightings going by that map. I took a screenshot of the map from the site above. My sighting would have been close to the right angle-shaped green splodge (Clitterhouse Playing Fields) that appears below "BRENT CROSS" and above "CRICKLEWOOD".

    That said, I note that someone in the comments on that site said that they saw a kite over Primrose Hill (not yet shown on the map).





    P.S. I tried to post a message to the site with my sighting but my message was marked as spam! Somewhat ironic given the epic amount of spam links right above the message area.
    Last edited by markrlondon; 7th December 2022 at 23:46.

  35. #35
    Master Lammylee's Avatar
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    I havenít seen one in North West England although there are Buzzards everywhere which may well stop them getting established.


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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingstepper View Post
    Strange (to me anyway) how they are in one area but not another, similar one. Sister lives near Maidenhead and as said there's loads. Here in Essex buzzards are now common but not RKs.

    Is it one or the other?
    Depends where in Essex, Iím just above M25 border, around Waltham Abbey, Epping. Up to a few years ago I only found buzzards around locally, but now we get Red Kites in town, sometimes a pair, and once there was three out at the same time.
    When they come down low they look really big.

  37. #37
    Grand Master sundial's Avatar
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    I have two road kill pheasants in my freezer in readiness for a planned 'Red Kite scavenging' photo session at a local nature reserve - but expect buzzards will will have first pickings.
    "After a certain age you got the face you deserve I think" ... Henri Cartier-Bresson

  38. #38
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Not seen a red kite down my way although I have seen some sparrowhawks.

    We get plenty of Parakeets in the garden, had 13 in one of my trees at one time. I often wonder how they have been so successful in the SE and where they originated from?

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  39. #39
    We live in Hampshire and are fortunate to typically see a couple each day. Either flying over the house or the fields nearby when out for a walk.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    Not seen a red kite down my way although I have seen some sparrowhawks.

    We get plenty of Parakeets in the garden, had 13 in one of my trees at one time. I often wonder how they have been so successful in the SE and where they originated from?

    Re the parakeets - an old guy told me many years ago that some escaped captivity and went on to breed very successfully.
    Not 100% sure and no one seems to know for sure.
    Last edited by bambam; 8th December 2022 at 14:16.

  41. #41
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    Not seen a red kite down my way although I have seen some sparrowhawks.

    We get plenty of Parakeets in the garden, had 13 in one of my trees at one time. I often wonder how they have been so successful in the SE and where they originated from?

    We get loads of them in St Margarets, as for where they originated - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feral_...20Thames%20and
    "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

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  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Neil.C View Post
    We get plenty of Parakeets in the garden, had 13 in one of my trees at one time. I often wonder how they have been so successful in the SE and where they originated from?
    ĎTwas Jimi:

    https://amp.theguardian.com/cities/2...ok-over-london


    Not. 😉

  43. #43
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    We get a red kite or two over our garden in Hertfordshire every day. I love seeing them but they drive my Staffie mad

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  44. #44
    Grand Master Neil.C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bravo73 View Post
    I love that Jimi story.
    Cheers,
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  45. #45
    Journeyman Longwool's Avatar
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    Red Kites have made it down to
    Cornwall now. Saw one on the farm for the first time this year.


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  46. #46
    Grand Master TheFlyingBanana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobDad View Post
    I rarely go a day without seeing at least a couple of Kites up here in North Norfolk. Most Iíve seen at any time is 8 on a drive to work. They seem to fly a lot lower than they have in the past, I think theyíre attracted to all the pheasant and Muntjack roadkill we have on nearly every road at the moment!


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    Those Muntjac are everywhere these days, often in bits at the edge of a road.

    Apparently they are from India and a number escaped from Woburn Park after they were brought over in 1838, and have since been breeding like mad rabbits. I didnít realise they had got all the way up to Norfolk.
    Last edited by TheFlyingBanana; 12th December 2022 at 19:54.

  47. #47
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    They're great to watch and photograph.

    Not everyone agrees, though. For example, there's good evidence the grouse shooting 'fraternity' have been persecuting and illegally killing them in the same way as they do hen harriers, and I wonder if that explains why the spread north isn't going so well.

    For example: https://raptorpersecutionuk.org/2018...ark-authority/

    https://raptorpersecutionuk.org/2012...g-other-birds/ and there's plenty of other disinformation around from those with vested interests.

    This is more fun: https://www.theguardian.com/environm...eets-of-henley

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