Battle of the Skies

One of the nice things about using a bike to get around is the amount of bird-watching you can do while travelling – at least on the back roads, where pedalling along looking up at a displaying curlew isn’t as dangerous as it might be if there were any actual traffic to contend with. It’s a nice challenge to identify bird when both they and you are in mid flight, as it were: my best spot this morning was a wheatear vanishing into a hedge, displaying its white tail, appropriately enough (the name means, crudely, white-arse, a fact that brought me no end of amusement as a child. And indeed now as an adult).

And then, as I started the climb up to ASBO Buzzard’s domain I spotted a corvid of some description giving a bigger bird some grief, and wondered if that was my nemesis back for another season of cyclist-bothering. It was only when I got closer that I realised it wasn’t a buzzard but a red kite. We’ve had the odd red kite incursion in the past, visiting from the west where they were reintroduced, but they’ve never really settled, so it’s encouraging to see one twice in the same area in the space of a week (we saw another on my Anniversaire). I’m not sure which one would win in a fight: a red kite or an extremely stroppy buzzard, but that’s one battle I’d be delighted to watch. As long as they don’t end up uniting against a common enemy and carry me off altogether…


6 Responses to Battle of the Skies

  1. Andy in Germany says:

    We see red kites more and more locally, often flying very close to the apartment and shadowing me on my bike. Alongside them we see Kestrels hovering over the fields, Hobbys, Sparrowhawks (which set off the birds in the forests like a car going through a hen house in a Disney cartoon), and about eight buzzards which thankkfully haven’t yet had the idea of attacking cyclists.

  2. Gail Rehbein says:

    Bird-watching by bicycle is one of my joys too. Moving slowly, quietly, I see more than I would in a car which requires much more of my attention.

    Hmmm contemplating the headline…
    “Cyclist missing – Red Kite and Buzzard Assisting Police with their enquiries”

  3. charles says:

    Even in London we are starting to see Buzzards. I saw one over Lincoln’s Inn this week (poor thing did look embarrassed maybe it was looking for a lawyer to defend it after assaulting a cyclist?) and they are quite common inside the M25 now. In fact the only joy in using the M40, apart from the obvious one of leaving London, is that you always see red kites as you cross the Chilerns. Not rare at all now.

  4. disgruntled says:

    haha – Kites are notorious for taking things as trophies for their nests. Even if they couldn’t get a whole cyclist up there, it might be where my last tweed cap ended up…

  5. ballsofwool says:

    Wow! I was really surprised to see a red kite too…over my house last week. They seem so enormous they even make the buzzards look small. The RSPB website tells me buzzards have a life expectancy of about 16 years…only another 13 years of being buzzed still to go, then, eh. Lets hope it doesn’t pass on the trick to its littl’uns.

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