These birds are really branching out from their Rhayader stronghold. The last time I was up the Ceredigion coast, albeit back in 1998 at RSPB Ynys-hir, I had no record of them. Now you’d be hard put to miss the species. Ones and twos all the way down from Machynlleth to Aberystwyth, then inland to Devil’s Bridge, where six were in view at one time. Over the Cambrian Mountains to the birds’ highest density round Rhayader itself and on almost to the Brecon Beacons. Kites, kites, kites.
It was marvellous, just like being abroad, which is a sad indictment of the British attitude to raptors. In fact Wales is also like being abroad by reason of having trees – another sad indictment. From Conwy down to Betws-y-Coed onwards and even at our little end of the country between Abergavenny and Chepstow. Trees, trees, trees.
I had some trouble checking last century’s sightings because I’d lumped all my south-west Wales records under Dyfed, which no longer exists. I had to split those old sites between the three counties of Cardigan – sorry, Ceredigion – Carmarthen and Pembroke, which I had only barely tickled – at Moylgrove. Hardest to place was RSPB Dinas near the junction of all three but just in Carmarthenshire.
So, that’s me up-to-date in matters Welsh. And back to base after two-and-a-half weeks away. Waiting for my first Somerset red kite. It does exist, I’m assured.