Monday, 25 October 2010

Unusual Kestrel behaviour?

I spent most of my birding time over the weekend at various Charnwood Forest sites, looking for Waxwings, Bramblings and Snow Buntings, but without any luck.

As I was returning home yesterday afternoon, though, along the road between Oaks-in-Charnwood and Whitwick, I caught sight of a raptor flying low over a field at High Sharpley. Partly in the hope that it might be a Merlin, I stopped the car and got the bins on it just in time to see it land on a low rocky outcrop, and could see that it was in fact a female Kestrel.

Over the next 10 minutes or so, it repeatedly glided from this perch, landed on the bare earth of the field, then flew back to its vantage point again carrying a large worm or an insect of some sort. At times, while grounded, it walked around a considerable amount. It was all very reminiscent of the Red-footed Falcon at Ingleby a couple of years ago.

Thinking about it, I've seen an awful lot of Kestrels these past couple of weeks, but that may be partly down to the fact that my journeys to and from work currently coincide with the hour after and before dark.


Michael Flowers said...

A similar thing happened a few weeks ago when I was at RSPB Blacktoft with my class. A Kestrel swooped down in front of the hide & took a Hawker dragonfly. We could hear the click as the insect was swept up. Meanwhile a female Merlin was watched thro a scope as she also was catching dragonflies, but unlike a Hobby she couldn't consume them in mid-air, but always returned to her favourite bush to eat them.

Matt Merritt said...

That's interesting! Never seen either take dragonflies before, but I suppose they're obvious prey at times when they're particularly numerous.