It is 11 years since the magnificent red kite returned to Yorkshire's skies. Roger Ratcliffe meets the man who has masterminded the project.
"That one there . . ." Doug Simpson points to a large russet-red bird with a silvery grey head that is perched on the branch of a Scots pine.
Through his telescope it's seen to be sporting a wing tag with the numeral "1", and Doug's voice takes on an affectionate tone, as if he has unexpectedly bumped into a member of his family. "That was the very first Red Kite chick raised from a nest here, way back in 2000."
With the 2010 breeding season at an end we are pleased to be able to report 7 known successful breeding pairs in East Yorks. Whilst this is an increase from 5 successful breeding pairs in 2009 we are able to remain upbeat with regards to the birds progress in the region. We are able to say this with confidence as this year’s figure alone does not reflect what we perceive to be the overall picture. Several tangible factors have made nest site monitoring more difficult this year, just the same as last year, there being an unexplainable trend throughout Yorkshire for a number of established pairs to ‘up sticks’ and move to new nest sites.
Bulletin No. 5 October 2011.This bulletin complements the Yorkshire Red Kites Newsletter Issue 13 now available at: www.yorkshireredkites.netWhilst the 2011 breeding season did not reach our expectations, we continue to remain confident about the long term success of the East Yorkshire Red Kite population, supported by indicators from the primary winter roost where early counts have already surpassed last year’s highest figure.
We are pleased to report that 6 known breeding pairs were indeed successful, though this was a drop of one pair from 2010. However with better luck, this loss could well have been balanced out through the discovery of a new pair and nest site, EY11 by a generously confiding landowner, further details below. Several tangible factors resulted in nest site monitoring being particularly difficult again, just as in 2010, with a trend for established pairs to ‘up sticks’ and move to new nest sites.
It is now eleven years since the process of reintroducing Red Kites into Yorkshire began. They are being seen on an increasingly regular and widespread basis – a sure sign that the programme has been successful. The presence of the birds in our countryside has met with widespread acclaim, bringing a great deal of pleasure to a lot of people. Some have said that their presence adds another dimension to their outdoor enjoyment, whilst others have remarked that seeing a Red Kite on their way to work lifts their spirits for the day! An added bonus has been the awakening of many people to nature conservation issues of which they were previously unaware. Detailed information about the birds and the Project can be found on the above website, where there is also a facility for reporting sightings.