An unexpected close encounter
Having driven the 170 miles from Exeter to Reading this morning I stopped off at a nearby garden centre to grab some lunch in the cafe. As I walked through the outside part of the centre I heard some birds chattering and followed the sound to investigate. To my surprise I found a separate area housing a small birds of prey sanctuary where they offer falconry courses. They had a number of raptors on display, including several falcons and owls. The Red Kite and Buzzard were sitting in an open enclosure with no wire in front of them so I grabbed my camera from the car and took some photos. I know the white background isn??t very natural looking but I quite like the clean, studio-like effect and it reminds me of Andrew Zuckerman??s [andrewzuckerman.com] studio wildlife photos.
After lunch I headed off to my rehearsal and couldn??t quite believe my eyes when I got out of the car. Circling overhead were three wild Red Kites ?? just like the one I??d been photographing minutes before! I got chatting to the lady who opens up the church hall and she told me that they regularly see the Kites, sometimes as many as thirty of them. Apparently they were released nearby just over a decade ago, when they were an endangered species in the UK. Since then they??ve flourished and these particular birds live in the nearby woodland. Of course as soon as I got my camera out they flew off into the distance but I can see I??ll be taking my 100-400mm lens with me to Reading every month just in case I see them again!
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