Well it's all out in the open now. Red Kites are breeding in Co. Wicklow. In early April I made the discovery of a kite nest in an oak tree. What a day that was.
I really hadn't expected to find a nest on the day it happened and was just checking out an area where I had previously seen a number of birds interacting. As I walked through the trees trying to get my bearings I noticed a pile of sticks that could have been a nest, of course I couldn't pass by without examining it. When I but my binoculars up I really was'nt expecting to see a long forked tail sticking over the edge. Absolutely amazing. Obviously I wanted to shout and cheer in delight but that isn't advisable below a fresh kite nest so I had to wait till I got some distance away. It's a strange feeling knowing you're the first person to see such an event in over two hundred years. It was genuinely a privilege.
A few weeks later I went back in to inspect the nest. I had a few people involved with the project along to help. We used a mirror mounted on poles to see in to the nest bowl. I've seen this technique used before but its far trickier that it looks. Twelve meters of aluminium pole is heavy and difficult to direct. Still the results were worth it. Looking up into the mirror from the ground there they were for all to see, three kite eggs. It was all done in five minutes and shortly after we left "Purple e", the breeding female, was back on her nest.
Hatching will hopefully take place this week. The first few weeks after hatching will be critical to the young kites so hopefully the weather will be kind to them. I'll upload the photo of the nest shortly and keep you posted on further developments,