Sunday, October 25

Branston - the kestrel

In an earlier post I introduced Spike- the barn owl who we met and handled at Thirsk Falconry Centre.

Spike, however wasn't the only bird that we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with. Our other close encounter was with another British bird - meet Branston the female kestrel.
Kestrels are a very familiar bird in our area and we regularly see one hovering alongside the motorway. When hovering the kestrel's head is remarkably still as it scans the ground for signs of a meal.
Even when sitting on Martyn's hand Branston was watching out for a meal and she was also keeping a lookout for any potential danger from above - after all there were eagles and vultures about.
The closest that I had previously been to a kestrel was one morning when opening the bedroom curtains and looking down on a male sitting on one of our bird baths.

Up close Branston was smaller than I thought she would be. In the photos below she is sitting in either Martyn's or my hand. Can you tell which is which?
It was difficult to capture Branston in flight. Below are my best efforts/
Once she had finished her performance Branston was well rewarded.
Who could fail to appreciate the beauty of such a bird except a small mammal such as a mouse?

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments http://glallotments.blogspot.co.uk/ author S Garrett


21 comments:

  1. She's a beauty. We have lots of kestrels nearby, we see them regularly, never seen one on my bird bath though.

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    1. The bird bath was one off, Jo, Unless they come regularly before we get up morning. 🙂

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  2. Wonderful photos, Sue. The next to last one shows kestrel's pretty tail. Never seen them before!

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  3. I think Kestrels must be getting more common, because you see lots of them these days - especially close to Motorways. Maybe they take advantage of roadkill? Their distinctive hovering action makes them easier to identify than most birds of prey.

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    1. They are still on the RSPB Amber list, Mark. I don't think they would be interested in the road kill but motorway embankments are ideal habitats for small mammals .

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  4. Oh what a stunning bird, I just love them, especially the way they hunch their wings over their prey!
    How lovely to have come that close. Kestrels are often in our garden, I saw one killing a blackbird, it seemed to be pounding it to death, not a pretty sight! I even saw one attacking a magpie once, it was like the battle of the giants, in the end they both flew off! I did enjoy this!xxx

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    1. You must have some pretty ambitious kestrels around here area, Dina. There wouldn't be all that much difference in size between a blackbird of the kestrel so he was taking on a big boy. as for taking on a magpie, silly bird.

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  5. Stunning photos & a wonderful opportunity for you. I've never held one but they visit the garden from time to time x

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    1. It was great to have the chance to appreciate just how beautiful these birds, Jo.

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  6. What a beauty - I don't think I've ever seen one before.

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    1. Do you have kestrels in your part of the world, Margaret?

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    2. We do during the summer - the American kestrel - but from what I've read, their numbers have gone down a lot in recent years which is likely why I've never encountered one.

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  7. Replies
    1. Absolutely, Patsy, as long as you are not a small mammal.

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  8. I love birds of prey. It is amazing how quickly they can take another bird out. They are beautiful. Thanks for the close up.

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    1. So do , Bonnie. I am preparing a lot of birds of prey photographs to go up on our online album which you may like.

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  9. Beautiful bird!
    Let me guess, the first photo is your hand and 2nd is Martyn hand! correct? ;)

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    1. Absolutely correct, Malar. Martyn's hand is much bigger than mine as are his feet :-)

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