Sunday, 1 November 2009

Kestrel Hunting (unsuccessfully)

While out yesterday, I came across this Kestrel which seemed to be surprisingly tolerant of my close presence.

Common Kestrel

 

In fact, it once flew up and sat right in front of me barely 5 meres away on a tree top and looked directly at me. I was shocked that I barely had time to react and manually focus my DIY re-chipped Sigma 600mm f8 mirror lens  onto it. It more than filled the frame! Pity it isnt as sharp as I’d like it to be.

Common Kestrel

It didn’t like the limelight though and flew to another tree top to begin its watch. Its really interesting to watch a kestrel hunting. It was scanning the grass below while completely ignoring my presence.

Common Kestrel

All of a sudden, without warning it took a dive onto the grass.

Common Kestrel

from where I stood I couldnt make out what it was after, but when I moved a bit, I saw it sit next to a heap of mud burrowed out of the ground by some animal, perhaps a rat.

Common Kestrel

whatever it was, it escaped, for the kestrel now just sat there looking a bit dazed.

Common Kestrel

Common Kestrel

It then walked around the mud, and climbed atop it ……

Common Kestrel

…and just sat there, as if it was warming itself in the mud.

Common Kestrel

however, it soon flew to another treetop and sat there in surveillance.

Common Kestrel

…..I followed to try and get some more pics….and sure enough, it dived again!

Common Kestrel

to leave me with a couple of good action shots.

Common Kestrel

This time again, I wasn’t sure what it was after….

Common Kestrel

because when the kestrel raised its head again, either it had already eaten its prey or it had got away again, leaving the bird looking a bit sheepish again!

Common Kestrel

From what I observed, I guess this bird is very much a juvenile, just about coming to grips with hunting.

Common Kestrel

Perhaps that would also explain its comparative lack of fear of humans (me). Or maybe the preceding cold weather had made it too hungry to bother about humans anymore.

 

Common Kestrel

The bird soon returned to another treetop to resume its bid for lunch. I decided to move away so that it would have a better chance at catching something. I was happy with the shots I got.

Common Kestrel

 

….but here are the ones that could have been!

 

Common Kestrel

…the ones that got away!

Common Kestrel

so much for manual focus lenses.


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