Normally…

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This is one of those familiar x-rays of a shot raptor – see the pellets? I’m not at my best when identifying dead birds from x-rays but this is apparently a Red Kite. And Gloucestershire police would like anyone with information to step forward…

I noticed that someone commented on this subject that they wouldn’t have a clue where they were a month or more ago, and I have a lot of sympathy for that view. Except in this case, because it is in the Cotswolds, in mid March, I probably would know where I was. Normally I would be in the vicinity of Cheltenham racecourse for several days at that time of year, and it so happens that 12 March was Gold Cup day. Now I haven’t been to the Friday of the Cheltenham Festival of Racing for a good few years, restricting my visits to the far better first three days of the racing. Gold Cup day is overcrowded and the quality of the racing is not as good as the other three days – except for the big race itself. And, clearly, there were no crowds at this year’s Gold Cup. So, I have an alibi, for sure.

But normally I would have driven right past Salperton – it’s on part of our clever way in to the racecourse avoiding the crowds – several times that week. I have passed this fine , new wall by the side of the road at Salperton Hall many times;

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.8742421,-1.9017875,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s3hiKvjIWydL22NFTJnAKUg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

That wall will have cost an absolute fortune to restore to that high level of quality for such a length. Nice bit of work though.

And I have often seen Red Kites on the stretch of road immediately before and the one immediately after the location of this image on Google ‘street’ view. So I may have seen the very Red Kite which makes such a sad sight in x-ray. Just down the road is the area where birders and photographers often assemble to watch Short-eared and Barn Owls in winter evenings, and where I’ve seen Hen Harriers a few times too. So any raptor-hater with a gun might do even more damage.

Lots of Pheasants running around on these roads normally though, and quite a few Red-legged Partridges in the area too.

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