"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 15 October 2012

Red Kites at Watlington

We visited Watlington in Oxfordshire yesterday to watch Red Kites. We first discovered this small town a few years ago when we were in the Chilterns and looking for somewhere for lunch. We couldn't believe how many Red Kites were around the town. It was exactly the same yesterday every time you look up you can see one, two or more of these lovely birds.

We saw several Red Admirals mainly nectaring on ivy flowers but this one was on a noticeboard in the car park.

Watlington is a picturesque place to walk round - unfortunately the 70-300mm lens isn't the best to use for taking photos of buildings!

Here's a few record shots of the Red Kites we had come to see. To be honest the birds weren't close enough for the lens so these are heavily cropped. Trying to get the auto focus to lock was a nightmare!!! I did try manual focusing but that was even worse!!! I definitely need to practise flight shots!

We had lunch at the Carriers Arms again - really tasty and the Sticky Toffee Pudding with Ice Cream was really something special. The pub is on the outskirts and overlooks the lovely countryside

and as you eat lunch you can see half a dozen or more Red Kites soaring in the sky or flying low over the pub gardens - can't imagine many better places to have lunch!


Rohrerbot said...

Wow wow wow!!!! Don't be so hard on yourself. Those kite shots are fabulous!!! I've never seen one in the wild.....but I can only imagine what it was like. The last shot of the flying together is truly magical. Sometimes while doing the manual I get a bit teary eyed from the incredible power of nature. And then my shots are no good. I love the flight photos. Beautiful birds.

Ragged Robin said...

Rohrerbot - Hi Chris - Thanks so much for such a lovely comment :) I am too much of a perfectionist at times!

Yes, they are magnificent birds - in my top 10 of favourite birds. I will never forget the first time I saw one - in Wales. Their reintroduction into England is one of conservation's success stories :)

As you say the power of nature is awesome and the wonderful thing is that its all around you wherever you happen to be :)

Toffeeapple said...

We frequently go to Great Milton to see the Red Kites, sometimes there are so many flying about that it is not possible to count them. I can't get sharp pictures of them either so don't be too cross with yourself, those that you have are better than many of mine!

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline, I think you have some lovely photos here. I know from when we went to Watlington Hill just how difficult it is to photograph the Red Kites (or indeed any birds) in flight but I think you got some great results!

Did you actually visit the Watlington Hill Reserve? If not you must go next time, the views from up there are amazing! And I shall know where to go for lunch when I go again :-)

The spider on the last post was pretty spectacular! I never used to be keen and they can still make me jump but nowadays I just find them fascinating. I felt quite smug when I carefully removed one from the wall in a relative's house while a burly male stood back terrified :-)

Well done by the way on continuing to plug the petition against Badger culling. I'm with you all the way!

Pete said...

nice shots - and I like the food :D

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Many thanks for your kind comment :) I think sometimes its best to forget the photos and just enjoy the spectacle! Glad though I am not alone in struggling!

Shy Songbird - Thank you too for your kind comment :) TBH I've only ever tried birds in flight once before at a falconry display and failed miserably! It is hard especially when against the sky which tends to throw the exposures out and the autofocus was a nightmare. Nearly fell out with the family when they kept telling me to use manual focus!!!!!

We didn't go to the Watlington Hill Reserve this time but we have in the past - as you say the views are wonderful :) The pub food is good and reasonable - the pub is just past the public car park in Watlington as you leave village.

Good for you with the spider removal - two males in my household are not keen especially son and often have to go and rescue spider and calm them down!!!! :)

Thanks for support re: petition against Badger culling. Whole situation truly awful - I dread to think how we will feel when the cull starts - so inhumane and unscientific. Did you see the letter in the Observer from 30 eminent scientists debunking the cull!!! There's now a debate in the House of Commons on 25th October although I fear nothing will stop the Govt in going ahead.

And many thanks to everyone who has signed the petition :)

Pete - Many thanks (I am trying not to compare them with yours at Gilgrin Farm!!!!!!!) You would have enjoyed the pudding :)

Tricia said...

Well done on finding and photographing the kytes Nice pics!

and I rather like the sound of the food too :D

Ragged Robin said...

Tricia - Many thanks :) The pub is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area! Its a great location for Red Kites!