So there it was, flapping round lazily in the sky, not so very high, above the roundabout where Willow Road meets Cotes Road,
as I was taking my daily lunchtime, lock-down, leg-stretch round the village one bright January day. The come-back king of
birds of prey, the Red Kite was hunted almost to extinction in Britain in former times but has been steadily reintroduced at a
number of sites more recently.
Many birds of prey can be hard to identify. Not this one though. Once you’ve got your eye in, you can tell them at a glance, even some way off. A kite is a bit bigger than a buzzard, but the give-away is the silhouette rather than the size. The main thing to look for is the forked tail, as you can see in the illustration here.
In contrast, a buzzard’s tail is very obviously rounded; so unless it’s a long way off, telling the two apart is pretty straightforward.
Where had ‘my’ kite come from then? In Leicestershire they are apparently commonest in the east of the county, especially near Rutland Water but are spreading westwards, although once it had finished circling over Cotes Road for a fair few minutes, mine majestically, if leisurely, flew off northwards towards East Leake and Prestwold.
So, if your regular walk round the village
is becoming a bit samey, do have a look up
and keep your eyes peeled. You never
know what you might see.