Tag Archives: Wales

Red Kites at Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, Wales

30 years ago Wales had a mere handful of breeding pairs of Red Kites (Milvus Milvus), a fact that’s hard to believe when you spend the afternoon at Gigrin Farm with a spiralling mass of over 400 (can be less or a lot more depending on the weather and time of year) of these beautiful raptors filling the sky at feeding time.

Red Kites in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of Red Kites in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Feeding stations have become an important element in the RSPB’s Red Kite conservation programme and ever since 1992 when Gigrin Farm was first approached, it’s been playing its very important role extremely successfully.

Now a true Welsh tourist attraction, Gigrin Farm is owned and run by Chris and Lena Powell and consists of 200 acres of land starting at 700 feet and rising to 1200 above sea level located in Rhayader in the Wye and Elan valleys in mid-Wales.

Gigrin is also the Red Kite Rehabilitation Centre in conjunction with The Welsh Kite Trust.

Admission to the feeding station for adults costs £5.00, for O.A.P £4.00 and for Children £3.00 (with 4yrs and under allowed in Free)

There are a number of conveniently located hides specifically aimed at photographers and film makers with costs starting at £12pp for ground level (accessible by wheelchair), rising to £22pp for the Big Tower Hide. The Big Tower hide can accomodate 6 photographers with tripods or 8 without, so reserving your spot with Chris Powell in advance is advisable, as it’s very popular.

(Prices correct as of 10 Mar 2014)

Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK, Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kites are instantly recognisable in flight with their distinctive forked tails (fanned when diving) and striking colour, which is predominantly chestnut red with white patches under the wings and a pale grey head. It’s a medium-large bird of prey (females being slightly larger then the males) in the family Accipitridae which also includes many other raptors such as eagles, buzzards and harriers. Vagrant Red Kites have even reached north to Finland and south to Israel, Libya and Gambia.

When the feeding starts there is definitely a pecking order with the older birds going first followed by the younger and then juvenile birds. You’ll witness some spectacular aerial acrobatics with amazing displays of twists, turns, diving and feeding on the wing.

Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite twisting and diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Juvenile Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an juvenile Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Red Kite feeding over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Frequent visitors to the station are a pair of White or Leucistic (reduced pigment) Red Kites. Normally at a distinct disadvantage in the wild but they’ve been accepted here by the other raptors.

Leucistic Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Leucistic Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Leucistic Red Kite diving over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Leucistic Red Kite in flight over Gigrin Farm, Rhayader, mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Expect to also see Carrion Crows, Ravens, Common Buzzard and Heron as they also frequent the station.

Common Buzzard perched in a tree on farmland in mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Common Buzzard perched in a tree on farmland in mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Common Buzzard in flight over Gigrin Farm in mid Wales, UK

Photo of an adult Common Buzzard in flight over Gigrin Farm in mid Wales, UK. Canon 1DMKIV and Canon 500mm f4 L

Gigrin’s kite feeding – using prime beef – takes place at 2pm GMT or 3pm BST every day.