Sunday, March 15, 2015

Leeds in Kent, not Leeds in Yorkshire...

I have been sitting on these photographs for a couple of weeks now, figuratively that is, not literally. Really just wondering what I could do with them and so I thought I'd make up a little blog entry with a few. They come from a nice morning spent at Leeds castle, which by the way for anyone who doesn't already know, isn't in the city of Leeds, Yorkshire; but the little village of Leeds, just along the road from me in Kent.

Most are from the birds of prey centre-although, just to contradict myself, the first couple aren't...


A Black Swan

Leeds Castle

Panoramic view taken with my phone

A Harris Hawk

These are from the southwestern United States and can also be found in Chile and Argentina. Although they have been spotted in the UK, these are thought to be escapees from falconry, a purpose they are well suited to. They are also known as the Bay-winged Hawk and Dusky Hawk.

A Harris or Bay-winged Hawk

The castle again, this time in cloudier conditions

A Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull
As always I am happy to be corrected, but I think this is also a black-headed gull in winter plumage? According to the RSPB this is not really a black-headed gull at all, more chocolate brown and for most of the year, it in fact has a white head. It's also most definitely not a seagull. It is found commonly almost everywhere inland.

A Kestrel
I would have to say that this little beauty was my favourite on the day by a long way. There's just something special about Kestrels for me. The plumage is beautiful and they look so intelligent...

Probably the bird you are most likely to see hovering above open ground or even beside the motorway and roadside verges. There are said to be around 46000 breading pairs in the U.K. These birds have adapted well to living in city centres as well as the countryside.
I really could have stayed all day photographing them-as it was, I did take far more shots than I could ever use but enjoyed every moment.

A Coot-there were plenty of these to be seen

A Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine falcons are large and powerful birds that do breed in the U.K.The strongholds are the uplands of the north and west, along with rocky sea coasts. After suffering an all time low in the 1960s caused by illegal killing by landowners and gamekeepers added to being a target for egg collectors and then the use of pesticides, they are now thankfully making a good recovery. 

Those are just a few of the photos I took and I'll leave you with what was probably my worst picture on the day and yet....I wanted to include it just because the pose made me smile...

Until the next time...


  1. Stunning photos and Leeds castle looks amazing place to visit ( wish it was in Leeds) I have recorded a black swan this year as have others, I wonder if any get to breed, not been a native bird. Do they get to meet up...!
    The Robin photo is a great shot.
    Amanda xx

    1. Hi Amanda,
      Thanks, yes it is a nice place and billed as..'The loveliest castle in the world' ;) I am sure the black swans do breed at the castle actually. The robin picci is fun but why is it always the ones you really want to be in focus that aren't!

    2. Just awesome... WOW!

    3. Hi Brian,
      Thanks for your comment and enthusiasm...

  2. Gorgeous series of shots as ever! The BoP are so beautiful and it's a privilege to be able to see them so closely.
    The 'white' black headed gull is a juvenile coming into adulthood (takes 2 years, but don't know whether this is last year's or the year before's! Lol!) so perhaps that's why he's so behind in getting his dark hood.

    Leeds Castle looks an impressive and gorgeous place. Wish I'd visited it when I lived down there! Will have to make do with your lovely images for now.

    Love that robin shot! Defies gravity! Lol!


    1. Hi Maria,
      Yes, the birds were amazing, just would have preferred them to be free but then on a selfish note, photography is so much easier captive ;-) That explains the gull then, maybe the different beak colour too? The castle is wonderful.Somehow you never seem to visit the things closest to home though, do you.

      Yeah...looks like robin is trying to walk in a gale ;-)

  3. I've been there! Decades ago I did a day out from London which included lunch on the Orient Express, then a visit to Leeds Castle with a cream tea. We were dressed up to the nines. :-)
    Stunning images, really love those birds of prey, especially the kestrel. And the robin pic is amusing! :-)


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