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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Monday 3 July 2023

A 250 Red Kite Midsummer's Day at Bwlch Nant yr Arian

Bwlch Nant Yr Arian would be worth visiting just for the name alone - the Gap or Mountain Pass of the Silver Stream. How gorgeous is that, and even better when you learn there were silver mines in the area in the 18th century. 

I'd come for the kites, though, and 250 is the number the information boards say you might expect to see at feeding time, but with no way of counting, there seemed to be hundreds more (though given we were there on Midsummer's Day and it was all a bit magical anyway, there's always a chance some passing Puck put flower juice in my eyes.) 

Here's the view from the cafe terrace of red kites, with a few gulls mixed in, waiting for feeding time.

We made our way down to the pond for a closer view. It felt like when I was a kid and we were waiting for the feeding of the sea lions at Bristol Zoo - only these kites are wild and free, so there was none of the captivity anxiety that hung about zoo visits even back then. 

The Northerner was rather more apprehensive about it than me. Unconvinced that kites mostly eat carrion, he was clutching the walking stick we keep in the back of the car, ready to beat any off bird that might try to make a meal of our (admittedly small) border collie.

Like the sheep nibbling obliviously on the hillsides, he needn't have worried. When the feeding started, it was performative. 

And yes, something must have happened to my eyes because they were filling up with tears at the seeing and hearing of such a spectacle, of birds that were all but extinct in these islands in the 19th and first half of the 20th century, and like the bewitched characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream, I'd fallen in love.  

I doubt I'll witness anything better than this for some time.

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