Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Those chickens are a bit pointy!

    The most memorable incident on Sunday's rideout is worth relating here: it owes nothing to motorcycling but everything to nature. Riding along a stretch of road near the Chiltern escarpment I saw what appeared from a distance to be a group of chickens. Large glossy red-brown birds pecking in the road. Closer still they were revealed not as chickens but three red kites tearing at a piece of roadkill. These birds of prey were the subject of a successful re-introduction programme a few years ago in these parts. As I approached and slowed down they took to the air and for about a hundred yards I had my own Fly Away Home moment with a red kite flying at eye level about six feet in front of me. A beautiful - no, Stunning - bird, not having seen one this close before I'd never realised just how big they are. Why am I never in a position to take a picture when these things happen? Never mind - somebody else has.


  1. They're spreading down the M4, you know; there was one hanging about on the Bristol Downs for a while last year. But the most urban one I saw was over the carpark at Waitrose in Thame, hanging shakily in the air in that red kite way and searching intently for some terrine de lapin sauvage. Modern times, modern red kites...

  2. Absolutely, where I am right now - Oxon/Berks border half way to Swindon - there are always some soaring over the Downs.

    I did a contract in Thame last summer. Parking in the cattle market I spent quite a while watching a pair of them wheeling over the town. It's their call you don't expect in a market town.

    Never seen one close up until Sunday though.