Maggie pictures rare red kites near Fakenham
PUBLISHED: 16:05 19 January 2015 | UPDATED: 16:05 19 January 2015
The red kite - a magnificent bird of prey once threatened with extinction - is making a comeback in our skies.
Maggie Wilcox sent us these pictures of kites she saw between Sculthorpe and Fakenham, whilst driving through the countryside with husband Simon recently.
“We were driving up the B1355, just north of the A148, and we just saw them,” she said.
“There were four of them and one buzzard. They were circling around, then one of them landed in a tree.”
Maggie, 54, an ex-pat Canadian who settled in Holt in 2011, after living in the UK for 18 years, said she and Simon are not “hardcore twitchers”.
But she added: “We like going out and about seeing what we can see.”
Maggie said they regularly saw kites around Edgefield, befoire the tip there closed down. Her best sighting was in November 2013, when she saw 16 over the Stody Estate.
Kites, easily recognised by their forked tail, are soaring carrion eaters.
Once so common they were regarded as avian street cleaners in the Middle Ages, kite numbers plummeted over the next few centuries as the birds were persecuted by gamekeepers, egg collectors and taxidermists.
By 1871, it had more or less become extinct in Britain. In 1903, conservationists campaigned to protect the handful of birds left in remote areas of Wales.
By the 1,960s, numbers had increased to 20 breeding pairs. By the 1990s there were 100 and the birds are now spreading across the rest of the UK after a re-introduction programme.