7 Jul 2015

Red Kites at Bwlch Nant Yr Arian

On a trip to visit my brother in Wales, we spent a cloudy afternoon visiting the wonderful Bwlch Nant Yr Arian.

 Bwlch Nant Yr Arian (please don't ask me how to pronounce it) is a beautiful forest recreation centre famous for its vast amount of red kites, a stunning bird of prey, which until recently was on the brink of extinction in the UK.  This was originally due to the 16th Century Vermin Acts which saw the birds as a threat to agriculture and then in the 18th Century, gamekeepers on country estates exterminated red kites from all of England and Scotland, leaving but a few in Wales.  The red kite conservation project is actually the longest continuous project of its kind in the world.


Whilst waiting for feeding time, we took a stroll around the lake and through the woodland.  There are many other species of birds to be found in the area, including some rather vocal chaffinches.
Not long before 3pm, we set up in a spot in the hide closest to the red kite feeding area.  I say 'we', really it was just me whilst my brother and Kyle milled around talking nonsense about dinosaurs and goodness knows what else.

The sky slowly filled with more and more silhouettes, circling the water and waiting patiently for their lunch.

Suddenly the frenzy began.  Birds started diving out of the sky down to the grass in front of me, scooping up food as they went.  The speed at which they flew was a wonder to watch (seemingly for the geese too), although from a photographer's perspective, I certainly felt the limitations of my lens and felt a little jealous of those who toted the ones I could only dream of affording.  Despite this, I tried my damndest to get some decent shots!
After spending some time in the hide, we walked back around to the other side of the lake.  I was struck by some serious lens envy...
The above photo is actually the bit of the hide where I was stationed to begin with, to give you an idea of how close the birds were to us.

It is such an unbelievable experience to see so many wild red kites in one place and even more so to have them swooping down around you!

Bwlch Nant Yr Arian is most definitely worth a visit, especially if you're in Mid Wales, en route to Aberystwyth or to the coast.  Red kite feeding times are 3pm in the summer and 2pm in winter.  You can find out more here.


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14 comments

  1. You really got some wonderful action photos of the birds Anya, just lovely!

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  2. Amazing photos! I always find birds of prey fascinating, and these red kites are just beautiful. It must've been really something to see them up close!

    xx Mimmi, Muted Mornings

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    1. Thanks! Oh it was totally exhilarating, I'd love to go again x

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  3. I love Red Kites, where I grew up in Scotland we used to see them quite often and it was so lovely to watch the population grow and see them more and more regularly. They are very special birds. x

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    1. Oh how wonderful to have seen them often as a child. I grew up just outside of a city so still get overexcited at seeing things like pheasants haha! x

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  4. Gorgeous photos! Those birds look so impressive mid-flight.

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  5. Wow! I am so jealous that you got to experience this

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    1. It really was wonderful, I'd totally recommend it x

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  6. Oh my god - these are amazing! The red kites are starting to move over where we live - and they circle quite frequently, I'm starting to get ideas about leaving meat outside to see if they come down for it (we get the odd sparrowhawk) but my mother thinks we'll get rats.. haha
    They're such beautiful birds, they make me so happy to watch.

    Uncia and Tigris

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    1. That's awesome! The most I've seen is a neighbour down the road's pet Kestrel in the tree in our garden haha...yes real life Kes.
      I totally agree, they're so graceful too x

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  7. Those are some amazing action shots! It looks like an absolutely beautiful place :)

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