Friday Bucket Daily Sequence: Kestrel Crazy

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Kestrels aren’t crazy, I’m crazy about kestrels.

Earlier this year I published a Daily Bucket Friday Sequence ( www.dailykos.com/… ) featuring one or more Kestrels hunting in the field. I used them to catch up with my camera and lens after a winter of hiding in my cabin between Eagle quests. Kestrels are small but very fast falcons. It is one of the fastest raptors in hunting. They mainly eat insects, so we won’t see many of them here during the winter months, but they are here now during the warm days of waning autumn. I had the pleasure of watching one go about their business as I returned home from a trip to check my mail on 10/21/22. He was hunting a field of soybeans that was being harvested. The harvester had finished that part of the field next to the road, so that’s where the kestrel was hunting. The bird used the utility poles along the road as a convenient dining table and perch.

The Daily Bucket is a natural refuge. We friendly chat about animals, weather, climate, soil, plants, waters and note lifestyles.

The Daily Bucket Friday sequence aims to encourage photographers to submit not just one photo, but a series of photos, which document a story step by step. It can change the way you approach photography.

We invite you to note what you see around you in your own part of the world and share your observations in the comments below.

Kansas Flint Hills Fall 2022

I am not a city dweller and I have lived most of my life in and with nature. I am also not a scientist, although I am very attentive to what scientists offer in terms of observational results and predictive consequences. This is my idea of ​​what Backyard Science is. My approach to photography is entirely a means of documenting the observations that I am able to make. I do not seek diversity, but allow diversity to find me. That is, I go out with a plan and that plan is focused on a certain species, sometimes a specific individual of a certain species. However, if something else happens during my hunt, I also take advantage of this opportunity. As a result, my diaries usually focus on a single species or an individual within a certain species. It’s just my way of doing things. I do my best to stay focused.

EDITION: 27/10/22. I have been lamenting the shortage of birds in my area for some time. Saw almost nothing in the way of the bird migration in the spring or fall. Last spring I experienced a sudden death of Swainson’s hawks while diligently following their activity here in the Flint Hills. I found out that there have been many confirmed outbreaks in our state, including recently. www.kwch.com/… While researching information on avian flu and migration, I came across this very interesting article which might be worth your while. www.msn.com/…

Alright, back to our story…

You should know that I’m obsessed with swallows and love scissor tails. You know I go looking for Eagles and Red Tails. Raptors in general have played an important role in my personal development. My past stories show that I’m crazy about Kestrels. This story is a story to add to this particular affliction, hence the title of today’s Friday Sequence Bucket. I believe all images shown are in the order captured. As I tend to do, I imagined what the bird was thinking and translated that into “bird talk”.

09/23/22

Kestrel.  One of three together.
I spotted three Kestrels together. One remained on the fly while two perched in the treetops along the road. I always try to note the differences in marking from bird to bird.
Kestrel perched in a young tree.
Kestrel perched in a young tree 9/23/22. This bird has a large red cap with a light colored body and vertical lines on its chest. He is part of a trio of kestrels traveling together. As they moved north up the road to stay ahead of me, I was able to capture a few BIF shots.
Kestrel BIF 23/09/22
Kestrel BIF 23/09/22
Kestrel BIF 23/09/22
Kestrel BIF 23/09/22
Kestrel BIF 23/09/22
Kestrel BIF 23/09/22
Kestrel BIF 23/09/22
Kestrel BIF 09/23/22. After taking these shots, the trio headed across the country and I couldn’t follow them. It would be almost a month before I saw more Kestrel action to shoot.

10/21/22

On the way back after checking my mailbox, I spotted a bird hiding on top of a power pole. I decided after walking past that it wasn’t just any bird. So I turned around and went back to check. I found out it was Kestrel! Suddenly, nothing else mattered except watching this Kestrel do what Kestrels do.

Kestrel perched on a power pole.
“Hello, pard. Please don’t come any closer. I’m busy trying to make a living.

With that, the Kestrel flew off to perch on a pole further up the road. Where he landed gave me an indicator of his tolerance level. This distance was approximately 600 feet, or two pole spans. I parked my truck, grabbed my camera, and stood up, employing the tactic of “moving in sight so slow they can’t see you doing it” to see if I could get close to the action. As I was trying to do this, the fast bird action started. Couldn’t get any pics as it plunged from the pole into the crop rubble below. The bird caught and flew to a different perch to enjoy a meal. This sequence only lasted a few seconds. I stood still in order to blow my cover “in plain sight”.

Kestrel dining on the take.
Birdspeak… “Don’t bother me now, I’m busy and have to work from different angles.”

Don’t ask me what he caught because I can’t tell. Can you? Notice that the bird has chosen another post, a newer one with the padded top, to make its meal. Bigger

Does it help identify prey?
It didn’t help me much. I am confused. Does it help you with prey identification? ZOOM
Kestrel dinner
“It’s my frontal approach.”
Birds usually start eating with the head of their prey.
Kestrel stops eating to keep an eye on me.
“I’m making good progress here, but that last big chunk needs some thinking. Stay where you are, Big Eye”
I am convinced that birds see the large lens as a very large eye.
Kestrel trying to find a way to swallow the last big chunk.
“This is what consideration looks like.”
Kestrel with a question?
“I’m almost done here, but I need to make sure you watch your manners.” (You must be listening to the language of the birds! LOL)
Kestrel considering his next move.
“That last bit was a doozy but I finally figured it out. I’m just waiting for it to settle down comfortably, and then I’ll start all over again.

This time the Kestrel crossed the road to hunt.

Go and fly to find another hold
“Hmmm, I see you were paying attention and ready this time. Watch and I’ll show you some of my favorite flight moves.
Kestrel on the hunt.
“Is it just me, or has the sky changed color?”
Kestrel going back and forth trying to locate another meal
“I go back and forth a lot. Just because something wasn’t there a moment ago doesn’t mean it won’t be there this time.
About to hover to see he saw something.
“I’m going to show a couple of my nice spots really quickly before going into flyover mode because I think I might have spotted something.”
He thinks he saw something and puts on the airbrakes.
“Check those spots while I’m hitting the brakes. I think I saw something there.
Hover mode
“It’s hover mode. I’m double-checking to see if my next meal is convenient.”
Turn around to start back and forth again.
“Rats, another false alarm. It happens often, but I’m going to turn around and go back and forth again. Something will appear shortly.
Kestrel BIF 29/05/21
This photo from 4/2021 is still my Kestrel bar setter and I’m still trying to top it.

The crazy quest of the Common Kestrel continues with repetitive movements in the fields. I got what I was looking for and this bird too. The question is did you get what you were looking for? I’ll look to see it when you post it in the comments. I will be updating my Flickr page but hopefully this diary will give you an idea for your own Friday streak.

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