Raptor-ous Day - 16th September 2009

I often travel down the M40 and I’m amazed by the amount of Red Kite I see along the stretch just south of Oxford. Today’s count was 8 but that wasn’t the start of it. I had a little time once I’d finished work so decided to do a little detour before checking into my hotel so headed just west of West Wycombe. I found a layby and watched 12 Red Kite gliding above the tree tops and local fields, I tried to get some photos but nothing of any quality as they just seemed to be out of reach of my 300 lens.

I then headed towards Stokenchurch, turning down Muds Bank I found a large layby were I could pull over and safely watch what was around. I counted a further 20 Red Kite, 10 Buzzard and 1 Kestrel during the time I stopped shooting off nearly 200 shots with my camera. The area is easy to find and well worth a look if you’re in the area as the birds were just very close as they flew from one field to another over the layby.

My hotel was on the lake of an area I used to bird watch when I was Reece’s age though I had nowhere near the equipment or experience he has now. I did think about taking a look around but with the wind being up and not having a jacket I viewed the lake from my balcony. In the evening were the usual Malard, Coot, Canada Geese, Greylag and Black Headed Gull. The surprise was in the morning when I saw 6 Cormorant swimming across the lake as I ate breakfast, I know they are seen on inland during the winter but I didn’t expect to see them in Milton Keynes!
Also around were 6 Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Starling and a Great Crested Grebe.
Several larger Gulls flew across the lake but without my Binoculars I had no chance of identifying them

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