Sunday, 28 May 2017

Kite fright

Having left the scorching Midlands on Friday, we find ourselves in Cornwall where temperatures are struggling to scrape 15C and today, after a morning at the Lizard (seeing my first English Choughs, plus some rare plants), the afternoon was a washout. So this evening I had a trip out to Goonhilly Downs to see what I could see or hear (Nightjar and Cuckoo, and some more rare plants, as it turned out).

However, my arrival was somewhat delayed as, leaving Mullion at just after 8, a raptor flew North across the road in front of me. It was a kite, looked dark, and lacked the gangliness of Red Kite, or so it appeared. I managed to do an emergency stop in a well-placed layby, and jumping out of the car, had tail-end views of the bird for 5-10 secs. With thoughts that it was going to be a young Red Kite, I noted it was uniform dark brown above, with a paler panel across the wing-coverts, and lacking any rufous on the tail, which had a minimal fork in it... The underwing looked good too, with a subtle paler panel on the primaries lacking significant contrast with the secondaries. Hmmm.

It then dropped out of sight, and I spent the next 40 minutes driving around and scanning from various vantage points, but couldn't relocate it. Feeling like I needed to articulate my frustration, I tweeted (perhaps risking being called a stringy b*stard!), which RBA promptly picked up and put the bird out as a 'probable'. It's going to be added to the 'one that got away' list, unless I manage to track it down again over the next four days. Although if I'd seen it on the continent I would've happily ticked it off...

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