I have been looking at these pictures for a bit now…reluctant to share them. Wanting to keep them to myself like those rocks you pick up that catch your eye when you’re out walking. You happen to be, for once in this crazy world, in the moment. You notice a rock. You feel it, look at it, then put it in your pocket all sneaky like. Maybe it makes you think of a time past, or catches you in the moment…thinking about nothing else but this rock in your hand. Your mind does not chatter, it just is.
I think…why would anyone else feel the same way I do about this rock? Why bother showing anyone else this rock?
When I reach down and find it in the bottom point of my pocket, it quiets me.
I run my pointer finger and thumb on it, and it makes me feel OK.
How could anyone else feel the same way?
I was in Scotland a few weeks back and my father has been white knuckling it for the past 5 hours driving a 6 speed standard on the ‘wrong’ side of the road from the Isle of Skye back to Edinburgh. Our entire trip in Scotland, I was secretly hoping to catch a glimpse of what I thought might be a Red Kite.
We happened on a sharp right turn in the tiny town of Argaty Scotland and passed by a ‘Red Kite’ sign.
I knew at that moment, this event in time, was meant to be. It wouldn’t have happened except for my dad realizing how much it may mean to me. As he asked… ‘Do you want to stop?’I had an excitement in my voice.
I was willing to give up this reality I created for the sake of the others in the tiny 6 speed, on it’s 5th hour.
As we veered off course about 5 miles, my heart skipped as I saw the first Red Kite floating in the air.
I jumped out of the car and no one was around…shit! I spotted a hand written sign saying ‘FEEDING TIME 2:30’ Surely it was past 2:30…but it wasn’t. It was 2:30 exact. I was doubting each event that lead up to this.
Nothing, and no one else mattered…
I grabbed my camera and ran up the path following the arrow signs, skipping the bend and ran through the trees until I saw the blind.
How could anyone know what I was feeling at this moment?
How could they accept this tiny rock for all the stories hidden inside of it. At surface level, that is all it is..a rock.
And as a matter of fact…why do I care.
I’m engaging these self-inflicted thoughts on our new worlds obsession with likes, comments, hearts…you name it. It runs our perception of who we think we should be…and I’m guilty of drinking the cool-aid.
I got there just in time to see a man walking from a big crop circle with a bloody bucket in his hand. He walked to the blind, and settled inside for the show. There were about 20 of us bird nerders looking out.
It turned out he was the ranger and was instantly excited about what was about to happen, like it was his first time. He had just dumped venison in the field, and let us know that the Red Kites will not start to feed until the crow and the vulture comes. They feed on competition, which I can relate to. It’s not a fault…it’s just the way I am.
I was equally excited about seeing the Red Kites in action as I was the Ranger. He was so passionate about the Kites. He was feeding off of our excitement, and couldn’t stop talking. This guy has seriously fell in love. He was in love with the Kites and it was so stimulating to experience. It was such a high to be in the presence of someone who was without a doubt…happy.
I only had a short amount of time to photograph, and I felt like I did miss out on the moment of just watching. Once I put the viewfinder up to my eye, I am taken out of reality. I only see what the camera sees, and I sometimes lose the feeling of being in the moment…which makes a good picture great.
And after all this, I look at the pictures. They are still there waiting for me…They are the same pictures. So if I look at them today or tomorrow, they will not change. They will remain like that smooth rock…just there for me.
And in the end…at the finish line, I look around to see who I’ve beat…but it’s just me.
So I try to take it slow, and take it easy. Each day if I find something that makes my heart skip…I embrace it, and I love it back.
Now for some FACTS
-The red kite is subject to the longest continuous conservation project in the world. The first Kite Committee was formed in 1903 by concerned individuals appalled at the continuing destruction of kites, who initiated the first nest protection schemes. The RSPB is thought to have been involved continuously since 1905.
The rarity of the red kite made it a prime target for egg collectors and bounty hunters, who robbed up to a quarter of nests each year.
The main threats they face are illegal poisoning by bait left out for foxes and crows, secondary poisoning by rodenticides, and collisions with power cables. These problems are continually being addressed to reduce their impact on the kites.
All the birds released as a part of the reintroduction program and a proportion of the wild-fledged young have been fitted with coloured wing tags, each with a number/letter combination that allows for individual recognition. Please report any sightings of tagged red kites to the BTO website. This will help with monitoring the whereabouts and movements of the tagged individuals and the spread of the kite population as a whole.