Hi ! I'm Robin Lovelock, and I've set up this "Red Kites" page because in recent months I've been spending much of my hobby time, along with long-suffering wife June, or old friends Trevor and Stuart, enjoying watching red kites in the Chiltern hills, less than an hour north of us. My GPS Software business has required me to spend several hours each day at this PC, so I welcome every chance to get outside ! :-)
Most of our recent aerial filming has been done by Snoopy flying "EasyStar" a lightweight polystyrene kit powered by a quiet electric motor. This model flys well in all conditions, including stong winds, and has even used floats to take off water. Robin's favorite trick is to both launch AND land in his hand :-) Here on the right you see Snoopy, gritting his teeth before yet another mission, behind the TV camera in its forward position.
On the left is from a picture taken by Ron Perkins*, of Snoopy being followed closely by a curious kite. The rear facing TV camera needed to point up more ! * more of Ron's pictures here.
On the right is a still picture taken over The Three Horseshoes at Radnage on a suitable sunny day. The videos are available below, and are yet to be updated with our latest clips. We are now regular visitors to the pubs below, hoping for more days with bright sunshine, little wind, and the sky full of red kites :-)
If you have broadband, and/or don't mind the wait to download the video lasting less than a minute, you can get a flavour of what we've filmed so far here (3.6 MB). You may then wish to try the full 10 minute version here (144 MB) - but please remember, we are still working on this project and hope to add much better material soon.
One of the strangest frames of video we've captured so far, is this on the left, as a red kite passed rapidly across behind the aircraft. I've still not worked this one out :-) We are still learning how the kites behave in the air with our models. They seem less attracted to - but not afraid of - our larger 100 inch span glider, compared with the smaller Easystar. They often fly up to circle with it, or follow it, and it is only recently we've discovered the need for the rearward facing camera to point up - they insist in following in an "attacking" position. We also have the means of dropping a feather or a stick from the 'plane, and hope to catch some clips with a kite snatching these.
We welcome contact by anyone with an interest in our activity, and you may
contact me on my
The red kite is our largest bird of prey, measuring two metres wingspan. It was practically extinct,
other than in Wales, until it was re-intoduced some fifteen years ago. It feeds mostly on
"road-kill" - birds or animals already dead. You can read much more about these magnificent birds on the
Red Kites in the Chilterns
which include lovely pictures. I particulary reccomend the
Red Kites page
on the Chilterns website, and the
Nest Watch page
page where you can see videos of young kites being fed near Charwood garden centre (see below).
On the right is a still picture taken over The Crown pub in Radnage.
Here are places we reccomend that you visit to see the Red Kite:
You may have noticed a slight bias in our choice of location, compared with other web sites. I can assure you that this has little to do with good food, beer, and friendly landlords and landladies. It is where you can be sure to see the red kite close and in quantity, and where we understand there is little risk to your disturbing a nest site. I suspect the kites visit these locations regularly because some of the locals leave out the occasional morsal of food.
You may see more of my model aircraft (and ducks) TV filming hobby here