Majestic raptor

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Kestrel, Chesterfield Canal

This week we’re focusing on this medium sized falcon, one you’ve probably seen from your car window as you travel down the motorway: the kestrel.  You may have seen it with its long wings and tail distinctively hovering before diving down for prey it has spotted down below.

The male shows a black spotted coppery chestnut back with a grey head and tail and a black terminal bar.  The female is brown with a multi barred tail.

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Kestrel, Chesterfield Canal

A widespread and fairly common bird, it can be seen in almost any habitat.  The pictures Alison and I have captured are mainly woodland areas, and I also captured one hovering through the car window (I pulled over of course!)

It’s sad to say that the kestrel has declined in farmland areas over the past few years, but this year round resident never fails to amaze us all with its display while in hunting mode.  It will flap its wings constantly, and its fanned out tail acts as a brake when the bird is about to land.

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Kestrel, Chesterfield Canal

This magnificent falcon can also be spotted regularly sat on telegraph poles or wires, but hovering by the roadside is probably where they’re most frequently spotted.

The best way to identify the males and females is by the head: the male has a bluish grey head while the female’s is brown.  The call is a sort of high pitched “kee-eee-eee”.  They raise one brood of 4 to 6 eggs, and the nest may be on a quarry cliff ledge, high window ledge, disused crow’s nest or a tree hole.  If you’ve ever watched or read ‘Kes’ (if you haven’t it’s a must – 5 stars from us!) you’ll know their favourite place to nest is in derelict buildings.

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Kestrel, Chesterfield Canal

It will eat small mammals such as voles (sadly in decline), beetles, lizards, earthworms, and, sorry to say, also small birds.  Keep an eye out for this incredible bird.

By the way, we got the first picture of a chiffchaff on Monday 13th March!

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Chiffchaff, Retford golf course

First signs of spring/summer!  More to come on this bird later…

 

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