Red Kites hunting over countryside.


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Dec 8, 2005
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West London, UK
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I spent the last couple of days trying to photograph wild Red Kites in flight. Apart from the standard looking up at them flying stuff you get I wanted to get some that show them in their habitat. We were up a hillside so at times we were level with the Kites as they flew past which allowed me to get some of the countryside behind them. I had the exact shot I wanted in mind but took a LOT of photos with not much success as they birds were always smallish in the view finder and the background would confuse the focus. These were the best 3 I got, not sure if any of them are the exact shot I wanted although they come close as it shows them hunting in their natural surroundings which I like.
All are slightly cropped, but only because web sized shots needed the bird slightly bigger in the frame. The original files have slighlty more countryside in the background so you get a bit more of an impression of the area they are patroling.
Anyway, here they are - be interested to know what you think. All shot with the D200 & 200-400 VR. The colours look slightly different in each but thats because the sun was hidden at times by varying thickness of clouds so lighting changed a bit.



I think I like the first one the most but will go back for more as not sure I have the shot I am after just yet.
Thanks :)

I kept the loose crop to show the backgrounds off and give some scale to them. I did a few tight crops but you kinda lost that impression and they becace regualr flight shots with a green background that couldn't be made out properly.

Shall be trying some more soon hopefully! :)
Very nice shots...I like how crisp the bird looks against the fuzzed out b/g. Well done.
great shots..... well done with finding the red kite..... i think you captured them well....... i would try one tighter crop..... maybe with the first, just to show more of the birds detail...... the resolution should be good enough for it too :thumbup:
I also have a ton of 'almost' frame filling flight shots too which show off lots of nice detail. These ones were not taken with the intent of having a lage detailed bird, they were as much about the background as the bird. I might stick some of my other detailed flight shots up later once I get home from work :)

Stokenchurch was once a release site for them which is why they are easy to find there. At one point there was about 30 in one part of the sky! great to see!! :)
Of these three, the last is most probably my favourite just due to the 'extra' detail, but I will agree with leaving the larger than normal portion of the landscape in. This alone, in my opinion, makes the shot stand out from many other bird photographs. Great job.
Did you try adjusting the levels any? could help enrich with the colors, And I would thing about cropping #s 1 & 2 but just a little off the left and bottom
It would be great if you could seperate the images a little... its hard to focus on just one. I have a questions for you bird shooters - how do you get at the same level as the bird? Are you on a cliff?
Actually I prefer the middle one of the three, the wingtips and the eye suggest it's found some prey.
Love the way you've used the telephoto to lose the background. Some techie details would be nice .

Cheers CJB
I like the crops as they are, as it shows the bird in its natural environment.
I've shot hundreds of birds in flight shots and have never managed to get one thats sharp

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