My Dad’s a Goldfish – red kites

Not far from where we live is a red kite feeding station where visitors can view these amazing birds swooping down to grab the meat put out for them.

Red kites were re-introduced to bird-of-prey-302591_640Dumfries & Galloway through a joint initiative between various groups including Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the RSPB. In 2001, 33 young birds were brought to Galloway and released into the wild at a secret location in the Galloway Forest Park. Over the next four years, another 71 birds were released from there and 3 other locations in the Loch Ken area. Breeding occurred for the first time in 2003 when one chick was fledged from one of four nests. In 2015 at least 112 chicks fledged. Now the birds can be seen in lots of places as they spread out across the region.

I’d taken the Goldfish to the feeding station once but had got the time wrong, arriving an hour after the birds were fed. We were still charged the full fee although there was little to see and the Goldfish couldn’t walk any distance. I swore I’d never go back but then saw there was an Open Day and it was free to go.

The son-and-heir was at home for the weekend so with the extra help transporting the Goldfish was a whole lot easier. We arrived to find the visitor centre was already packed with spectators, including many with very large cameras, and lots of families with small children.

At the sight of elderly man in wheelchair, the parents of small children began to drag them, protesting, from their vantage point to let us push through so the Goldfish would have a good view. To my utmost embarrassment he immediately fell asleep. Deeply asleep.

He slept as the woman came out with her bucket of dead chicks and he slept as the red kites filled the skies, swooping down to grab their dinner before soaring upwards again. It was spectacular to watch but no matter how much I nudged the Goldfish, shouted in his ear and shoogled his wheelchair he slept on.

As the last few stragglers cleared the dinner table the audience dispersed. The Goldfish woke up. Wide awake, he wolfed down an ice cream and we thought he might be interested in seeing the sheep, lambs and goats in the field. By the time we pushed the chair to the fence, he was asleep again. We came home.

31 thoughts on “My Dad’s a Goldfish – red kites

      • At least the parents of those children were teaching them an important value. Last year in Venice we saw a stunningly beautiful young girl, dressed in obvious height of couture, come onto our crowded vaporetti and proceed to take the handicap-reserved seat. When an older lady with a cane asked for the seat, the girl literally ignored her. As the boat moved on, others took up the cause. I stood and offered the older lady my seat (as did other tourists). As the boat moved up the canal, several people tried to reason with the girl (in Italian, English, French, and Russian), pointing out the handicap symbol and the many older people who didnt have seats. She yawned and started flipping through the screens on her mobile. Eventually she got off at her exit, still completely unconcerned as far as we could tell.

        I’d like to think that every child who made room for your father will grow up to automatically give up a seat to someone who needs it more. And also that those children will be able to expect and receive that same consideration when they are the ones in the wheelchair.

        And as for being embarrassed–I would be willing to bet that the only thing everyone there noticed was a daughter and grandson trying to provide a special treat to a beloved parent.

        Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you. We live in a very beautiful part of the country with wildlife all around us. I still smile when I think of how wide awake dad was for his ice cream, which he ate at great speed, and how fast he fell asleep again.


  1. Nice to think he may have absorbed some Red Kite atmosphere even though asleep! I wish they ate veg and not all that meat!! Yugh! And I wish they put smaller labels on the wings with all the info. That size looks a bit cumbersome. But they are amazing. This reminds me of times I’ve been all geared up for a great Music Therapy session due to some advance or exciting thing that happened last time, only to discover that my person I’m working with is fast asleep and misses the whole thing!!! LOL! At least Dad got his ice cream, bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think there are many – if any – vegetarian birds around!
      I’m sure your music therapy people absorb the benefits even if asleep. I remember how often dad seemed to be fast asleep at the musical minds sessions then I’d notice his fingers were tapping in time or a foot was.
      Funny how wide awake he was for his ice cream 🙂
      Thanks for popping in and commenting – not heard from for a while. Hope all is well.


  2. This is so cool (the photos, video and your story) ~ what a treat it must have been for your Dad, even if he slept through the highlight of the day…although the ice cream may have been the real highlight. Wish you a great Sunday ~

    Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you really overestimate her. The only time she moves fast is when she has me on the run chasing her around the yard. That’s one of her favorite pass-times. I’ve been reading the latest posts about the vehicle you bought to take your dad out. It must have been such a welcome relief to bring him places and share it with him. It is difficult to be house-bound (for everybody involved).

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry your father didn’t see the birds and in fact fell asleep. I can understand why you felt a little embarrassed given that a lot of children had been moved out the way to let him through. I do tend to agree with the point made by Barb in her earlier comment, though. It was a good thing for the children to learn the importance of being considerate toward other people.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The video that you included with this is stunning, Mary. Did you make it? The writing here is very much in the moment and touches on a difficult aspect of caring for someone whose illness expresses itself behaviorally. I had a sense of the wonder you were seeking and the terrible reality of your Father’s illness.

    Liked by 1 person

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