Friday, 25 July 2014

KESTREL 24th JULY 2014

Well today Sandmartins were supposed to be my main quarry (eh!-see what I did there) but as with all my plans things never quite go as planned.
It was the weather that spoilt things today, first the searing heat and quite breezy weather spoilt it. The thing with these Sandmartins what I do is wait as they fly back with food for the young, of course nowhere near the nests, normally they'll line themselves up with the nest hole in the "cliff" face and then dive in, sometimes they have to abort for one reason or another then circle round and try again this is when I normally try and photograph them. With the wind they were struggling to get back into the nest holes so I opted to leave them in peace.
In one of my previous blogs about the quarry I mentioned the two juvenile Kestrels and the adults teaching them to hunt, well today I got to see them in action again.
It was along the field that had been harvested the day before, today the farmer was collecting up the stubble and creating bales, this brought the Kestrel in. Two birds an adult and a juvenile bird.
Both birds were hovering along the side of the field just above the hedgerow and too far away, I was cursing my luck and wasn't just about to run over and possibly disturb them to get an image or two, I just sat in the shade and watched, when the adult bird dived down followed by the younger bird.
There was a fair bit of calling and suddenly at speed the adult bird was low and (sadly) to the left of my position and very close, with prey.
 You can see the adult is starting to loose it's feathers. This is normal at this time of the year, they loose a few feathers at a time to be replaced by new ones. Obviously they don't loose all of them at the same time, otherwise they wouldn't be able to hover/hunt.
The younger bird, is notable by it's size and the undeveloped markings, it was chasing after the adult calling as it went.



They both dropped over one of the earth mounds to the log pile I went and had a look as there was still a bit of calling going on. Both birds were very distant but clearly sharing the catch I'd have thought the adult bird would have stopped doing this by now. However I did note one juvenile (this one) was smaller then the other juvenile which I haven't seen for a while. Nothing to worry about I hope I think it has been chased away by the adult bird to fend for itself as it seemed quite capable of hunting on it's own when I last saw it.
Below is a record shot of both birds going to share the kill, you can see the bird at the top is smaller.




12 comments:

  1. These are wonderful. I could sit and watch them for hours.

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    1. Me to Adrian they're brilliant little birds, have good weekend

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    2. Totally agree a stunning looking bird that never fails to entertain, I love them

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  2. Great observations Doug, of fabulous birds. Nice catch with the prey.

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    1. Cheers Keith just wish the prey shot was a little more side on.

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  3. Great shots Douglas, a good consolation for missing out on the Martins!...[;o)

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    1. Thank you Trevor I still watched through the binoculars the sandmartins those young are getting braver, not long now till they go

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  4. It's just fabulous to watch this sort of action. I could do it all day! Beautifully captured, Doug.

    This hot windy weather is a real pain isn't it. Have a great weekend - - - Richard

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    1. They are great to watch. I really shouldn't moan about it being hot I would only moan if it was wet and windy. Have a good weekend too

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