Red Kite Delight
One family’s dedication has helped restore a glorious native species to a lovely area of Perthshire
IAM heading south through the Sma’ Glen on my way to Argaty, near Doune, a 526 hectare (1300 acre) estate owned by the Bowser family who run the Red Kite Centre.
It’s a glorious morning and my drive is enhanced by blackcock on their lek, accompanied by an iridescent green sheen of wheeling lapwing overhead.
At Fulford, three red kites are riding the thermals high over a tapestry of ancient oak wood. Low sun paints treetops with a softly greening yellow. Following an extreme spell of intense cold, we are experiencing the hottest early summer on record.
This area is a favoured spot for the glorious red kite, ideal open farmland with perfect communal roost sites, and a good supply of small mammals and carrion. There are rabbits aplenty here, and their unsuccessful games of Russian roulette with cars leads to easy food for kites.
Kites are lazy, the ultimate scavengers. Over the years I have seen more and more here, and frequently watch them drifting into their roost sites. It’s a sight that never fails to thrill, for the red kite is one of the most glorious of all raptors.
It’s likely most of the birds I see have originated from the south, from Argaty, as young kites are nomadic and have gradually established a thriving population here too.
I stop. A cuckoo calls and over the moorland the haunting cries of curlew drift wistfully, while willow warblers and a chiffchaff, a whitethroat and the magical song of a blackbird add to the morning’s orchestrations. The kites sky-dance using their