KITE, Milvus ictinus – Once a common resident, now only a rare occasional visitor.
The Rev. C. M. Phelps states that when he was a boy he often heard of, and saw the Kite glide over the farm yards, and threaten the unhappy hens with the loss of their chickens. This was on the mountains, ” some seven miles from Fishguard.” But it is now long since there were any resident Pembrokeshire Kites. Indeed, sixty years ago, the Kite had become a scarce bird in South Wales.
Mr. T. C. Heysham, the well-known naturalist, of Carlisle, was anxious to obtain a specimen from Monmouthshire, but had to wait for three years before his correspondent in that county was able to secure one. At last he had a male Kite forwarded to him in April, 1837, that had been caught in a trap, and was informed that the game- keepers had by that time rendered the Kite a very rare bird. For this interesting note we are indebted to the courtesy of the Rev. H. A. Macpherson, of Carlisle.
We have ourselves heard from old people that they can remember the Kite as quite a common bird when they were young. We have been informed by Mr. Mathias that a Kite was killed about 1835, upon the Moat Estate, by a keeper of the late W. H. Scourfield Esq., and passed into the collection of Mr. Ackland, of Boulston.
In February, 1854, Mr. Mathias himself saw a Kite on two occasions, and believes it to be the same bird that was shot shortly after in Carmarthenshire. There is a Kite in Lord Cawdor’s collection at Stackpole. As recently as the summer of 1893 Mr. Howard Saunders had a fine view of a Kite at Dinas. This bird may have belonged to a little colony of Kites that still exists in Central Wales. Mr. C. Jefferys, of Tenby, informs us that he has seen a Kite passing over at Pendine, and that at the present time Kites still nest in Carmarthenshire, at a locality that had better not be disclosed, where there was a nest in the summer of 1893.