Monday, June 15, 2009

Hunting Kestrel

For me the American Kestrel has been an illusive bird. I frequently see Kestrels sitting on powerlines during my daily commutes. Since my primary goal is to capture wildlife in a natural setting until this encounter my files contained very few Kestrel images and none without the omnipresent wire.

While sitting on our deck last evening I noticed a Kestrel high in the sky hovering as it searched the ground for prey. With the sun at my back I grabbing the camera and began shooting each time the bird stopped in mid air. The Kestrel would hunt for 10-15 minutes hovering over different spots in the meadow behind my house and then fly to a distant cedar tree and rest in its top branches. After a short rest it would again resume hunting. This image was the best I obtained. The shot is heavily cropped as the distance was too far for the 400mm to do its best work.

This evening I again observed the Kestrel but with clouds covering the sun the bird was not lit well so I contented myself with watching. After hovering a few times the Kestrel stopped nearly directly high over my head. Hovering for a moment it then dropped down about half way, hovering again momentarily and then plunged into the high grass of the meadow some thirty yards from the deck. I watch intently and was rewarded a minute later when the Kestrel rose from the grass and flew to the tree line carrying prey in its talons. From the size and color of the prey I am pretty sure that it had caught a mole.

Maybe another evening with better light will give me the close-up image that presented itself tonight but for now I am content with the image posted here and the memories of the Kestrel’s successful hunt.


Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Good Luck.These Kestrals are hard to capture.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

We often see kestrals when we're driving along the motorway. We saw a few at the weekend. They are usually hovering above the grass verges by the side of the road or over the fields we pass. Sometimes they are quite low!

Tom said...

Last year I had a Kestral that would fly above the landrover on a certain track I used.. I realised it was waiting for prey to be scared by the land rover... I took Jane with me and she captured a few good shots of it flying more or less at the eye level and only a few feet away. I used them on Sky Watch Friday
This year I have not seen it at all. I hope it keeps coming back now and you get your shot.

My blogs show Last of the meadow views and Poem with Butterfly's

photowannabe said...

How wonderful to have so much wildlife close at hand. Its always a pleasure coming here and seeing life up close.

Montanagirl said...

They are such a remarkably pretty bird, but very hard to get photos of. We see them all the time, but like you say, they're always perched on a highwire!