February 9th   2 comments

I was in England today attending a funeral in the town I was born. One bright thing of the day – was the number of buzzards (everywhere) and a red kite that I saw between Stansted airport and Royston. Thirty-eight years ago when I started bird watching there were no buzzards in that area and indeed much of eastern Britain. And I never even dared hope for a red kite, which was then a critically endangered species in Britain barely holding on to a few remote valleys in Wales. Persecution had done for both species. But they are back. I saw my first buzzard in the area in the mid-1980s (and indeed sparrowhawks started to become relatively common then too) and red kites have appeared in the last decade after the phenomenally successful reintroduction by the RSPB and others. We have the buzzards back around Crail too and they are a common sight. I occasionally meet people who rather bizarrely talk about “too many buzzards” being about – I certainly know what no buzzards being about was like. And it was dull. As I have said before, bring on the red kites back to Crail too.

Red kite - still a most wanted for Crail, but any day soon...

Red kite – still a most wanted for Crail, but any day soon…

Posted February 10, 2017 by wildcrail in Sightings

2 responses to “February 9th

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  1. Thank you so much for your blog – a constant source of interest and pleasure!

    Buzzards – I am puzzled that in the area of Wester Ross that I have been visiting for over 50 years buzzards have declined from permanent ubiquitous fixture to rarity. I have assumed it is a question of availability of prey and wonder what we know about the spread/impact of myxomatosis. When walking in the area I am certainly aware that there are fewer signs of rabbits. I know it is well out of your patch, but would be grateful to have any insights.

    Many thanks

    Veda Franz

    • Buzzards have increased everywhere in the last 20 years on a large scale, although areas like Wester Ross in the west are likely to have had much less change. On smaller scales populations can go up and down for many reasons: a shortage of rabbits is very important, so are local criminals that persist on killing birds of prey and sometimes it is just bad luck.

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