Category: Our Sightings

Seen a Stoat?

In November a Council worker (keen  naturalist so we  are pretty confident he is right) saw a stoat on the northern edge of  the Meadow.

A section of the long grass  by the northern belt of trees was in the process of being cut for the year; which meant that inevitably some of the  vole population was being sacrificed for the greater good of the remaining very healthy population. Not only did we get Red Kites investigating the proceedings at close quarters, but a  stoat as well.

We  don’t know if it was a passing youngster looking for a new home or an established  stoat  who already had a ‘territory’ on site. Either way, welcome to the feast!


Categories: Our Sightings

Red Kite Day

Sunday 19th February, Down Grange Meadow, Basingstoke

Red Kites are an increasingly common visitor to the outskirts of Basingstoke, so to see them overflying open green spaces in Kempshott is no longer newsworthy.

However, today we had just finished a work party in Down Grange Meadow and were finishing packing up the tools when a red kite appeared from the west , flying quite low. When over flying they are usually much higher in the sky –  this bird was no more than 50 feet up.

We stood and watched it for  4-5 minutes as it  quartered the Meadow, sometimes no more than 25 meters away from us –  and at that distance you really appreciate how big a bird it is in flight and what  beautiful and distinctive colouring it has. During its quartering flight it once dipped to the ground – but it was not clear whether it had caught anything or not. It  paused twice on a branch near the top of a large beech in the Spinney –  the second time disturbing a magpie  which  challenged it and seemed to  force it to take flight again.

The agility and ease of its flight has to be seen to be appreciated. We have a healthy population of voles and mice in the Meadow so we can only hope that  it will think it worth returning. The photograph, sadly, is not ours but  comes from Wikipedia to show you what we were  seeing. Why does one never have a camera handy when one needs one?

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