By PAUL HARRIS
Utterly bedraggled and looking rather stunned, a red kite struggles back to the shore after a bruising encounter with a goose.
The bird of prey, supremely graceful in the air with its magnificent 5ft wingspan, was clearly out of its depth in the water.
It had made the mistake of plunging down to grab a piece of meat that had been dropped by another kite.
Feeling sorry for itself: A bedraggled red kite limps back to shore after being attacked by a Canada goose in the water at Aberystwyth, West Wales
It misjudged the dive and ended up upside down in the drink. If that wasn’t bad enough, it was then attacked by a male Canada goose with a nest to defend.
The clash came at Bwlch Nant yr Arian, near Aberystwyth, West Wales. Up to 100 kites put on a magnificent display as they circled in readiness to be fed by volunteers at the Welsh Kite Trust.
Airport worker Craig Sluman, who took this remarkable set of photographs while visiting the kite centre with his wife Paula, said: ‘There was a big splash and the male goose came flying right at it. At one stage the kite went fully submerged.’
Bedraggled but undamaged, the 16-year-old female was dried, treated overnight and released the next day.
Master of the skies: The kite begins a dive onto the water to grab a piece of meat that had been dropped by another kite
Ambushed: Having misjudged the dive, the kite was then pounced on by a Canada goose, which are notoriously aggressive in defence of their young
Dunked: The unfortunate bird of prey gets pushed under the water by its opponent
In the battle of goose versus kite, however, there was always going to be just one winner. Canada geese are aggressive in defence of their young and this one was easily the size of a family Christmas dinner.
According to RSPB spokesman Grahame Madge: ‘There is a lot of myth surrounding red kites supposedly attacking other birds and pets, but they are scavengers. They’re not known for their courage in battle.’
Red kites were once common but numbers plunged after they were persecuted as vermin.
A re-introduction programme that started in the late 1980s has made them an increasingly familiar and impressive sight in our skies. But not, it is clear, in our waters.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
The kite who was ducked by a goose! Bedraggled bird of prey limps back to land after bruising encounter on the water
By PAUL HARRIS