Kings Langley Woods and a local MEGA probable BLACK KITE in the fields behind the RSSKL (13th April)
KINGS LANGLEY WOODS
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A lot of clearance and woodland management work has been taking place in Kings Langley Woods, especially in the NW section. Much of the holly has been removed and paths have been cleared hopefully giving other plant species a chance to become established. In tern, I hope a wider number of bird species will soon visit the woodland as it will soon offer a wider range of habitats. On my morning walk through the wood with Theo, I noted my first local singing Willow Warbler whilst Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps have now upped their song.
FIELDS BEHIND THE RSSKL
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On my second walk with Theo of the day I went behind the RSSKL were I planned on revisiting my newly established raptor watch point near the A41 footbridge north of the M25 junction 20. The usual birds were about including at least 3 Red Kites, 1 Buzzard a single Kestrel and 2 Lapwing. Very soon I picked up on a bird of prey flying low over Broadfield Farm. Its shape and size was similar to that of a Red Kite and was about twice the size of a nearby Carrion Crow. I had about a 10 second view of the bird from about 500m and only saw it circle once before it moved south along the valley. The most striking feature was the darkness of its entire body (in comparison to the Red Kite). The head, nape, mantle, back, uppertail coverts, tail and underside were all dark brown/nearly black in colour the underwing was equally dark except for the characteristic light window (also darker than on the Red Kite). BLACK KITE soon came to mind when I saw the dark brown/black tail. In addition, there was no sign of orange or rufous colouration as on Red Kites The greater coverts were paler brown than the rest of the wing but also showed no trace of orange colouration and did not contrast strongly with the dark brown upperwing. Unfortunately I didn't get an adequate view of the tail to judge how forked it was. Unfortunately, the sighting did not convince me sufficiently enough to add it to my list and it wasn't refound so it seems it will just have to be another one that slipped through my fingers.