Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Meet Chester.

This male Red Kite being harassed over the Derwent Valley in Durham had a wing tag number 76 which according to Friends of Red Kites website has been named CHESTER and was released in the Chilterns in 2006.

During the winter months you can see CHESTER hanging about near the Gibside roost site but over the years he has hooked up with female Red Kite RED ARROW, wing tag WT32 and on at least two occasions have successfully raised chicks. Other than in the winter months many of CHESTERS sightings have been around the Rowlands Gill area.

Ironically i hadn't had a Red Kite this year so it was nice to get four interacting over the Gibside area before a couple of Buzzards appeared close by. Chester had this Corvid on his tail for a couple of minutes distantly and as he decided to try and shake it off he headed mine and Liams way. Twisting and turning, upside down in this image, his stalker stuck close by.

They both just about headed directly overhead and eventually the Crow gave up and left CHESTER in peace. Stunning aerial antics while the chase was on.

A fantastic day out with Liam @notsotweets and Doug @Jarrowbirders who Liam and i met up with at Derwenthagh Park before heading out to the North Pennines and Weardale before Doug had to leave us around 2pm. Doug showed us around a few of his sites while i reciprocated with a few of mine. While out and about we had our first Wheatears of the year at Bollihope Quarry and a dozen Black Grouse close to their lekking grounds in Weardale. I pointed out where the lek takes place but followed up by mentioning to see the birds in action means being there at first light, something i've witnessed on 7 or 8 occasions and is thoroughly worth getting out of bed for. Although the birds are relatively distant you still get clear views and the sounds they make raise the hairs on the neck !!! Lots of other birds seen with a calling Redshank coming into breeding plumage another one of the highlights. The craic was brilliant guys. Cheers.


  1. Some great shots there John. A few weeks to Lekking season so an early start one middle of the night.......

    1. Definitely. Had a drive out of Cow Green but it was relatively quiet still. A few birds about there notably the Redshank. Justr getting to grips with the new camera. The focusing is superb & i'm sure i can improve on what i'm capturing now. I still think the 6D takes better images especially in lower light.