| || |
7. Red Kites in Flight (Loch Ken Holiday Park)
| Click for more images Click for more images Click for more images || |
|Location||Loch Ken Holiday Park Parton Nr Castle Douglas|
Red Kite's Renowned Aerobatics
Few birds, if any, are as spectacular in the air as the red kite, with its majestic size, unique shape and rich colours. To see one effortlessly gliding, flexing and twisting in a blue sky is one of the most rewarding birdwatching spectacles. When they do flap, their light wing-loading means that the body lifts up with every succeeding wing beat,and altogether seems effortlessly graceful.
The kite's pointed wings and distinctive forked tail make it fairly easy to distinguish from the more common buzzard. Kites have a lazier flight with slow wing-beats, compared to the more rapid flap and glide of the buzzard. Buzzards soar with their wing-tips held up, while the kite's wings are held slightly drooping. The forked tail is often used as a rudder, fanned open and tilted to steer the bird while changing direction. Kites take full advantage of winds and thermal updrafts to get around and they like hilly terrain where these updrafts make soaring easy.
As carrion feeders, they need to cover large areas of ground with ease in order to find food without expending too much energy. Radio tracking work in Scotland has shown that kites can easily cover over 20 miles in a day to forage. One kite, radio tracked near Rockcliffe in September 2002 was back at Loch Ken less than 3 hours later, a distance of 23 km (15 miles)!