Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why Common Kestrels are One of the Coolest Birds, Ever

So maybe you're curious as to why my little avatar picture is a starting-to-stoop kestrel. Well, for one thing it was a female Common Kestrel dropping in close on her hunt for food. I photographed her and a few others of the beautiful Italian isle Isloa dell'Elba. Don't believe me?

On top of Elba
The castle next to the mountain of the kestrels
Anyways, this was a stunning island. Richer with birds anywhere else I've found in Italy- not that I visited very many. Spotted Flycatchers and mysterious warblers abound.
One of the many Spotted Flycatchers I saw on Elba, with a little feather out of place
Anyways, this is about kestrels, not boring flycatchers. So as you may know, Elba is super scenic. Scenic to the power of scenic. We (my uncle, brother, and I- me being the only birder present) pulled over on top of some mountain to get a picture. Anyways, across the road is a hill, with an electric thingy on the top. It's devoid of any trees, just some scrub and grass. But something quickly catches my attention- birds. And they're hovering into the wind!
Here's one, being kestrel-y

The wind was very strong up there, so strong that about eight or nine of these little guys hovered in the wind, perfectly still. The pictures don't do it justice. These birds were perfectly still, only a few feathers twitching. I'll never forget how amazing they were.

Taken a few seconds after the one below; she starts to dive a bit.
My profile pic. Notice the alulas and tail!
I took a crap ton of pictures but not many turned out good; mainly out-of-focus. It's a bit tricky since you have nothing else to go by; they're just hovering in the air.
Really awesome birds.

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