Red kites and buzzards are fairly common at home, though we rarely see a kestrel these days (even though when motorways first came into use, they were the bird you saw motoring along them). When travelling North West up the M40 these days, red kites are two-a-penny from the Maidenhead – Marlow – High Wycombe area, then slowly peter out as you get further towards the Midlands, while buzzards become more prevalent.
So, travelling slowly South East from the Potteries, and seeing plenty of buzzards (as well as a dull brown painted boat named Buteo Buteo) , we were idly wondering when and where we would first spot a red kite: we were expecting to see them from Banbury downwards, maybe.
But nature moves in mysterious ways… as we pootled gently into the middle of Banbury, a dark red narrowboat came round a corner, narrowly missing us, and in the excitement of collision avoidance, we nearly failed to notice it was named Red Kite. Spooky!
And as for birds… we did indeed spot a pair of red kites this morning being suitably splendid, at Grants Lock, just South of Banbury. Along with a buzzard surveying a field on the other side of the canal, and a kestrel quietly perching on the telephone lines watching proceedings. All at once. Honour is satisfied!