Helen and I were staying in Leeds last night and today we took the opportunity to visit Harewood, a few miles to the North of the city, in order to look for the Red Kites, for which the area is well-known.
We parked at Muddy Boots Cafe in the village and walked along the tree-lined Church Lane, which runs next to the boundary wall of Harewood Estate. After about half a mile we came to a clearing and the landscape opened-up before us, providing a lovely view of the surrounding area.
Within five minutes we saw our first Red Kite, which was circling around the edge of the woods that we had just past. The bird was a little bit distant from our position, but it gave us confidence that we had chosen a good spot to look for the Kites.
As we stood waiting for our next sighting, we became aware of a quite plaintive ‘cheeping’ coming from somewhere not too far in front of us, in the field where we stood. After scouring the landscape before us for a few moments, Helen spotted a pale shape in the long grass about fifty feet from our position. It was a juvenile Pheasant. The bird was well-camouflaged, but we were able to get a few photographs of its head sticking up from its place of cover.
After about five more minutes, a pair of Kites appeared overhead, this time providing rather better views. Unfortunately, the sky was rather grey, which made it difficult to photograph the birds well, but over the next few minutes we took a number of photographs as the birds circled overhead.
We walked back along to the cafe and enjoyed a cup of tea sitting at one of the picnic tables outside the cafe.
Next time we visit this location, we’re going to be at the cafe in time for the afternoon feeding session, when the staff of the cafe put out food which draws the birds right down to the cafe building itself!