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Posts Tagged ‘kestrel’

I spotted this bird on Friday as I explored the area around my hotel near the airport in Munich, Germany. I am not sure of the exact name of the town, but it is one of many airport hotels that are in a relatively rural area adjacent to the airport.

I spotted the bird, which I was sure was some kind of a raptor, from a distance and was able to move a little closer to the mound on which it was perched. My initial thought was that it was some kind of hawk or falcon, but it was different from any of the ones that I have seen in my home area of Northern Virginia.

Thanks to the experts on a Facebook birding forum, I learned that this is a Eurasian Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus). It is somewhat similar to the American Kestrel, the smallest falcon that we have in North America, a species that I have seen a few times.

Eurasian Kestrel

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Despite the light rain that was falling, I decided to go on a photo walk yesterday morning at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Most of the smaller birds seemed to have taken shelter in the trees, but I was thrilled to catch a glimpse of a couple of raptors that were perched prominently in the open. It was an interesting contrast to spot an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), one of the smallest raptors in our area, and a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), one of the largest.

The sky was really overcast, so there was not enough light to reveal all of the wonderful detail of these powerful birds. Still, it was nice to be able to capture some images of birds.

Before too long the number of insects will start to diminish and my blog will become increasingly populated by birds. I figure that for another month or so, though, insects will continue to be featured most often, which is good news for some viewers and bad news for others.

American Kestrel

Bald Eagle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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I was thrilled yesterday morning to spot an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. It’s pretty rare for me to see this beautiful little falcon and the lighting was good enough for me to see some of its wonderful colors and patterns. From the photos that I have seen on-line, I think this is a female—males have wings that are slate blue in color.

I was also able to watch it hunting for a little while over a distant field. A kestrel hovers in mid-air as it searches for prey below. Although the kestrel dove low a couple of times, I did not see it catch anything.

Both times that I have seen a kestrel, it has been perched in the same tree and I plan to return there regularly during my treks through the wildlife refuge.

American Kestrel

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday morning I was thrilled to see this American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I had never before seen this little falcon, but its coloration and markings are awfully distinctive, so I had a pretty good idea what it was.

I was really struck by the small size of this bird, as compared with the Bald Eagles and vultures that I had seen earlier in the day. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the American Kestrel is about the size and shape of a mourning dove and is the smallest falcon in North America.

As you can tell from the background, it was heavily overcast when I took this shot, so the colors do not pop as much as they would in bright sunlight. One of my viewers on Facebook also noted that this is a female and, as is the case with most bird species, the colors of a female American Kestrel are more muted than those of her male counterpart.

I remember well the location of the tree in which the kestrel was perched, so I will add that location to my already long list of places to check when I visit this wildlife refuge, which has proven to have a pretty amazing variety of species to observe.

American Kestrel

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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