Tony McLean's East Yorkshire Wildlife Diary

Wildlife photography in East Yorkshire

Wales! The land of rain, dogs and Kites.



Red Kite_4, originally uploaded by Tony McLean.

Ok – I know this photograph wasn’t taken in East Yorkshire but please indulge me. After all, everyone deserves a holiday!

I spent a few days in mid-Wales last week to celebrate my 55th birthday. I arrived after dark and decided to spend the first night sleeping in my car. Wrong move. I must remember that I’m no longer a teenager and my body didn’t take kindly to the discomfort. Wednesday was pretty miserable and a trip to a RSPB reserve just outside Machynlleth yielded very little. However, the old moss covered oaks were a delight and I must return someday with my landscape hat on.

I spent the next two nights in semi-luxury in a hotel a few miles south of Rhayader. The first night was fine, but on the second day the Kennel Club brigade arrived in force along with their pampered and preened pets. The conversation between them at dinner was fascinating. One middle-aged woman announced to her friends that, “my bitch has a fabulous rear-end.” Something that I believed I would never hear outside the lyrics of a rap song!

I spent two long afternoons at the Red Kite Feeding and Rehabilitation Centre near Rhayader. I plumped for the tower hide for both practical and aesthetic reasons. (The practical reason being to get as far away as possible from the throngs of tourists with their loud infants and petulant teenagers) The first day was terrible. The rain poured and the Kites turned up on time but didn’t begin their aerial acrobatics and feeding until well after 5 pm. I stayed until the hordes had left but by then the light was fading fast.

The following day was better but the light was still poor. No blue skies on this trip! Still, I persevered and managed to get some decent images of these wonderful birds swooping down at lightening speeds to grab their bait. I must return sometime soon; perhaps when the snow is on the ground, the tourists have gone and dog-show is over.

I’d like to say a huge ‘thank-you’ to Chris who runs the place. He was watching out for me on the first day and came rushing out in the evening (still chewing his dinner) and offered as recompense, a free day for the late arrival of the Kites…as if it was his fault?? A good man and an outstanding conservationist.

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