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Author Topic: Kites!  (Read 1818 times)
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Crabby
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« on: May 13, 2018, 12:38:16 PM »

These are arguably the coolest birds ever. If a bird was ever an aviator this is the one. You rarely see them flap their wings. Their economy of motion is impeccable. They are here in Palm Bay making the buzzards jealous with their mad effortless soaring skills! If you like airplanes you started with birds, and if you don't know this one, its just because you never saw one! They are getting rare and are protected. They are in Florida till about August, what a treat to see 'em dive 20' for a dragonfly then soar back up to cruising altitude without a single flap. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpRwAqtJgqM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TQce8iWoFI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wYC4wXKgPg&t=53s
vid # 2 this bird is eating a pigeon and slowly losing altitude but hey he's got wings after all. I personally took vids with my phone but youtube published them awful so I copied these but you get the picture.
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 03:48:22 PM »

You're right Crabby they're a treat to watch flying.  Happily we're in the reverse position.  Red Kite numbers are increasing steadily hereabouts.  There used to be a smallish population in Wales and some years (30? more?) ago they were reintroduced in the Chiltern Hills and they've been spreading westward increasingly rapidly since.  I saw my first "English" kite over Didcot in summer '04 but didn't see one here until September 2010 and they're now a daily sight at tree top height (and lower) over the house and village and a bit less commonly west of here. There were a couple stooging around at Uffington on Sat. morning showing us amateurs how it should be done.  I've also seen them pottering around the skies over Oxford.

My best guess based on the number of sightings I've made west of here in the last 8 years (many fewer than here) is that the population is expanding westwards at something like 3 to 5 miles a year.  No idea what the N, E, S rate might be.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2018, 05:06:27 PM »

I still get a thrill seeing a red kite, even if they are becoming more common. Mind you, I like watching buzzards and kestrels too, and they're two a penny.
I also once saw a black kite pluck a fish out of a lake in France but I didn't know about your US swallow tailed variety. What distinctive birds they are.
 
Red kites were very common here in past centuries. Due to their habit of scavenging on rubbish dumps they were rather despised and known as 'sh*te hawks' in Tudor times I believe. A bit harsh for such a beautiful bird, but it just goes to show how rarity can raise your stock. After all, gulls are beautiful too, but their habits and excessive numbers don't always help people see them that way!
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2018, 06:55:05 PM »

SWALLOW TAILED KITES

    Great Topic Crabby and great videos !   Our most beautiful bird of prey, striking in its shape, its pattern, and its extraordinarily graceful flight. Hanging motionless in the air, swooping and gliding, rolling upside down and then zooming high in the air with scarcely a motion of its wings, the Swallow-tailed Kite is a joy to watch.  
      With a long 51 inch wingspan and a very wide 15 inch cord, small head and beak, and short legs, the lilting Swallow-tailed Kite has been called “the coolest bird on the planet.” With its deeply forked tail and bold black-and-white plumage, it is unmistakable in the summer skies above swamps of the Southeast.
      Flying with barely a wingbeat and maneuvering with twists of its incredible tail that it can open and close like scissors, it chases dragonflies or plucks frogs, lizards, snakes, and nestling birds from tree branches.  They can drink while skimming over water and hunt mostly flying insects that they snatch out of the air with their talons, and they feed their young with many types of small vertebrates - including tree frogs, lizards, nestling birds, and snakes. They snatch these animals from trees, and other plants, while in flight, and carry them away in their feet.    And they eat their prey while in flight, and  also snatch entire nests of smaller birds, and eat the young as it flies, with the nest clutched in its extremely sharp talons.

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Richard

The following video shows how they can "kettle" on a thermal in circles.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=swallow+tailed+kite+&&view=detail&mid=82DBD374CE39E388946782DBD374CE39E3889467&&FORM=VDRVRV
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OH, I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH ... UP, UP THE LONG DELIRIOUS BURNING BLUE ... SUNWARD I'VE CLIMBED AND JOINED THE TUMBLING MIRTH OF SUN-SPLIT CLOUDS ...
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 04:31:08 AM »

Thanks for the super pix and that new-to-me use of 'kettle' as a verb.  Very descriptive of the motion of multiple birds in lift.  I glide with the Kites here in the UK (RC hand-launch F3K Discus Launch Glider).  Here's one of my flying buddies, a Red Kite, I took the photo' at the club field.  We often show each other where the thermal is and then 'ride-share'...
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2018, 04:45:08 AM »

Perhaps I'm allowed a little thread drift to show my favourite thermal sharing pictures.  DLGs and Storks sharing thermals at the 2017 F3K Worlds in L'viv, Ukraine.
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Crabby
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2018, 05:09:09 AM »

Mike. Outstanding pics!
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2018, 06:55:45 AM »

Good topic Crabby

Great photos Mike! High aspect ratio Vs low aspect ratio.
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skycafe
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2018, 10:23:24 AM »

I am a bit confused that this was in Indoor, but so be it.  Also, until I went into thread I thought it was about kites, as in the kind that are flown on a string.

I love watching swallowtail kites!  Magnificent flyers.  Also, when they settle into their areas during the summer, you will typically see them following the same path at the same time of day (in suburbs with a tree canopy-I think they are watching nest activity and waiting for opportunities for prey).

I moved from C. Florida and am now in S. Carolina, which is still within Swallowtail's range.   They winter in Central and South America, flying over the Gulf.  I have seem a large flock of them in Costa Rica, soaring on ridge lift.  Took my breath away.
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Crabby
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2018, 10:53:03 AM »

Hi Skycafe my bad on the location of this. Sorry 'bout that! will be more observant in the future!
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2018, 12:08:01 PM »

      Hi Mike.  Those are ULTIMATE PICS of that stately, magnificent,  European White Stork soaring by your glider in Reply #5.
     That is a great size comparison for sure, since that Stork has a  61"  to  85"   wingspan.    The Stork was the inspiration for Otto Lilianthal,  "The Glider King". 
     I have not yet had a bird chasing my models, but I did once, at dusk, have my  17 1/2"  Air Camper followed in hot pursuit, right on its tail for several seconds, by a  17"    'Hoary Bat' !!    But alas, no picture.  That is my Prime Objective now - to get a pic of any of our Avian friends flying alongside my models.  Those bats are in Jackson Park and the Cricket Wicket flying around all summer in the evening at twilight gloaming.
      There is something beckoning about those elegant graceful Glider models being flown by the modellers on this site ...
     Thanks Mike for those marvelous pics of that Stork and your Glider.

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OH, I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH ... UP, UP THE LONG DELIRIOUS BURNING BLUE ... SUNWARD I'VE CLIMBED AND JOINED THE TUMBLING MIRTH OF SUN-SPLIT CLOUDS ...
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2018, 04:47:10 PM »

....
Thanks Mike for those marvelous pics of that Stork and your Glider.
....

Thanks for the kind comments.  They are other peoples' gliders but my camera/pictures - I was UK Team Manager.

Looking forward to the bat pictures. Low light action shots are tricky!
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2018, 06:41:28 AM »

  While waiting for the Bat photos I thought i'd share this, https://youtu.be/3rNu58hLY4Y  Not as much air time as I remembered but you get the idea, wonder what the Wing loading on one of these would be.
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Crabby
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« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2018, 09:32:33 AM »

When I see a formation of Pelicans here at the beach, I think of Stukas. They aren't as ugly and they fly better but when they dive crashing full speed into the water, I can almost hear sirens. I don't know what they weigh but I kicked one once when he got too close to my bait bucket and it was like kicking a bag of rock. But nobody can dispute how cool it is to see 'em skim the water surface in formation!
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2018, 10:04:22 AM »

Pelicans!  Love them.   Brown Pelican can be 4.4 to 11 pounds per wikipedia.   

Extraordinary flyers!  I used to surf and in the early morning the pelicans fly up the surf line, soaring on the offshore breeze as it is deflected up, the birds just above the wave surface.  As the wave crests to break the pelicans pull up and wheel out to the next wave out.  They economically cover distance while at the same time searching for fish schools to feed on.  I have sat in the surf lineup watching the pelicans fly soar along on the same waves I was going to ride.  Note: when they swoop up they often 'vent,' or empty themselves.  Ask me how I know...
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Crabby
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« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2018, 10:44:20 AM »

Sounds like you had a seafood shower skycafe great story! I digress, my son James builds surfboards. He is in Hawaii right now hitting the surf!
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« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2018, 02:25:35 PM »

Not easy to get out of your hair...fortunately didn't harm the surfboard.

Continuing on about birds: I tremendously enjoy watching swifts.  They jet around like cat gliders, zipping and twisting.  They accelerate in the air like a cat glider at launch.
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2018, 05:54:45 PM »

I loved watching white tailed kites hovering before the stoop in the  Central Valley of California

https://i.imgur.com/ZXZhGfb.jpg
Kites!
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« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2018, 07:29:35 PM »

I find it humorous that you make the connection between birding and model airplanes, Crabby, because I've been a birder since I was about 8, complete with Peterson Field Guide and binoculars. I suppose it makes sense that I especially like hummingbirds, and I also really like pistachio scale. Makes me wonder, I've seen bird-shaped ornithopters, I wonder if someone could make a scale hummingbird. Smiley

Paul
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« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2018, 09:47:11 PM »

Thanks to all of you for the excellent pictures of the Kites flying.  It was easy to see that they were real birds and not just well made scale models because all of them were circling to the right.  When will scale modellers learn that, to get the best performance, flying machines need to fly in right hand circles?
John
 
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« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2018, 11:45:38 PM »

     Hi skycafe, DerekMc, and ffadict.  It is nice to see the REAL "birders" coming out of the woodwork.  Wink    I too have been an avid "birder" all my life.   I actually have the Golden, National Geographic Society, Kaufman, Audubon Society, and American Bird Conservancy Field Guide Bird books, in addition to Peterson's Field Guide.
     Birds are TRULY the inspiration for Man's quest for flight.  So much so, that Daedalus fabricated wings for himself and his young son Icarus so they could escape from the Island of Crete.   Daedalus warned Icarus not to fly too high, because the heat of the sun would melt the wax, nor too low, because the sea foam would soak the feathers.  Icarus ignored his father's instructions not to fly too close to the sun;   when the wax in his wings melted, he tumbled out of the sky and fell into the sea where he drowned, sparking the idiom "don't fly too close to the sun".

PIC #1     THE FLIGHT OF ICARUS  by Jacob Peter Gowy
PIC #2     THE FALL OF ICARUS  17th Century relief
PIC #3     LAMENT FOR ICARUS by Herbert James Draper

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OH, I HAVE SLIPPED THE SURLY BONDS OF EARTH ... UP, UP THE LONG DELIRIOUS BURNING BLUE ... SUNWARD I'VE CLIMBED AND JOINED THE TUMBLING MIRTH OF SUN-SPLIT CLOUDS ...
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« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2018, 06:44:34 AM »

I am a bit confused that this was in Indoor, but so be it.  Also, until I went into thread I thought it was about kites, as in the kind that are flown on a string.

Indoor kite flying is pretty popular. Most decent kite makers have indoor models in their range.
If you have never seen it then I'd recommend a youtube just to see how wonderful a spectacle it is.
I stick to outdoors with mine, even there kite flying is pretty amazing these days with the whole 3D aspect.
Kites rolling backwards and forwards and rotating about centres.
No giant tubular tails these days...

This is long but some decent flying on there...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZxUnp2bNCY


Si
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« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2018, 07:04:04 AM »

   That's pretty amazing! Funny thing is last month while waiting for the basketballers to leave our Indoor site one of the fellas noticed a stiff breeze coming through the open door and suggested next time he should bring his kite, he wasn't far off!
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mike
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« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2018, 06:23:12 AM »

By chance, I received a picture by email yesterday from a well know Free-Flighter, EoB. He took it in Scotland near Bass rock a legendary sea-bird colony.
How many gannets can you get into one thermal?

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« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2018, 06:28:23 AM »

Air Traffic Controller's nightmare Smiley What an amazing shot.

John
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