Gigrin Farm - Edd Cottell

Gigrin Farm

The Red Kite is a fantastic bird.  It's elegant and effortless flight, changing direction with a flick of it's characteristic V-shaped tail, is matched by it's aerobatic dive to grab food.  A Red Kite is one of the finest sights to see here in Mid Wales and this golden autumnal light really enhances their stunning red and brown plumage.

Gigrin Farm, just outside of Rhayader, is one the best places to see these birds in action.  They are fed every day at 3pm in Summer (2pm in Winter).  There is a whole raft of hides to view them from, and a few purpose built ones specifically for photographers.  I would highly recommend the photography hides as the openings are larger and have ample room to set up a tripod.

As the tractor trundles round the field and food is thrown out the back, the Kites starting amassing.  It can be quite overwhelming trying to photograph them for the first time as there as so many!  I find the best way is to track an individual, preferably one without wing tags, and watch how they circle the field.  This way you can start to learn how they manoeuvre into position for the swoop, usually diving into the wind.  Unfortunately, the wind was blowing toward the hides, so the Kites swooped away from the camera to pick up the food.  Nonetheless, it was a good chance to capture the moment when they throw their body into the dive, by almost flipping themselves over.  I didn't quite get the shots I was looking for (note to self: check wind direction first!), but it is a wonderful spectacle, and always leaves you wanting more!


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