On Thursday, we went for a walk around the Elan Valley in Powys - a beautiful place, sometimes affectionately called the 'Welsh Lake District'.
There was plenty of bird action, with swooping house martin overhead, as well as plenty of pied wagtail (unusual for me to see these anywhere other than supermarket car parks), and a pleasant surprise was a pair of peregrine falcon that were chasing away a carrion crow from the cliffs seen to the left of the photo above.
Peregrine falcons - great to see these masters of the sky in flight!
I can't do a blog without talking about butterflies, sorry. There were large numbers of beautifully colored fresh small tortoiseshell out, as well as a ringlet, meadow brown, small skipper, a couple of stunning peacock, and a bit tattered, but still incredibly quick on the wing dark green fritillary, which was lovely to see.
Very fresh small tortoiseshell feeding on ragwort - stunning blue border around the wings.
Peacock - you can just see the upperwing pattern being lit up against the pitch black underwing.
Very speedy dark green fritillary takes a rare break to nectar on a thistle.
After bothering a sufficient amount of butterflies, we headed down to the red kite feeding station at Gigrin Farm - a great opportunity to see wild red kites come into feed. They certainly didn't disappoint. There must have been hundreds of red kites in the sky at any one time, performing almost impossible looking acrobatic feats for their size.
One section of an incredible kite filled sky.
The kites are fed bits of beef and sometimes lamb, and this attracts other birds too, such as carrion crow, raven and buzzard. The buzzards would get mobbed if they came in to feed at the same time as the kites, so they waited on the sidelines for the kites to finish feeding.
Turning to come down to feed - very impressive!
"Damn these kites. Soon I will have my revenge."
One kite was following another, making begging calls, and reluctantly, the food was passed to the individual underneath.
One of the kites coming in caught my attention, and it was something I'd never seen before, a leucistic red kite.
Leucistic red kite, tagged by, I believe, the BTO - black and orange 51.
It's amazing just how pale this individual is compared to the others!!!
This was a fantastic opportuity to see and photograph wild red kites, and although it felt a little bit like 'cheating' because they are being lured in - where else would I get this kind of photographic opportunity? The white kite was a great bonus, too!