Mid-Wales is a great spot for wildlife and I frequently head out there, usually from Spring until the migrants, such as the flycatchers, whinchats and redstarts head off south again late Summer. It is also of course, one of the very best places to see red kites mainly on account of Gigrin Farm's feeding station.
I have to admit to being guilty in recent years of driving past the farm to focus on the other wildlife in the area, believing I'd been there, done that. But when my friends from Inverness (Andy and Lyndsey Howard) were down south and had a day free, I offered to take them there as it is one of the best sights in wildlife in the whole of the UK. And while there is a red kite feeding station near Inverness, the numbers of birds are minute compared to those in Wales.
With no rush to get there, we slowly followed the winding A-roads to mid-Wales taking in the pretty scenery along the route. Both Andy and Lyndsey were getting increasingly excited as they saw more and more of the kites the closer we got to Rhayader. With one of the specialist hides booked, we arrived at the initial opening time, grabbed a bite to eat and then made the short walk from the farm to the Tower Hide, which overlooks the majority of the other hides there.
The open-fronted hide allows photographers to stand with tripods to try to track the birds as they come in, and as before, as soon as the tractor trundled into view, the kites that had amassed overhead, started to drop from the sky in a hurried, high-speed frenzy. I had suggested that it was best to watch the kites at the first instance, and then as the mass starts to thin out, try for shots of the individual birds.
Then it was back home, calling into a garage along the way so Andy could get his fix of icecream! A fantastic day out with friends, enjoying both wonderful scenery and wildlife, and a good reminder to me that I should never overlook places like Gigrin ever again.