Sunday, 13 January 2013

A kestrel in the wind

I drove along the back road past 13th Beach this afternoon and spotted several Nankeen Kestrels hovering along the dunes in the strong on-shore wind. I pulled into the "Boings" (or, somewhat less poetically, 35W) car park and extracted the camera from the back of the car, crossed the road to the top of the beach access stairs and waited for the bird, which was now hovering just above dune height a few hundred metres away, to glide back towards me. It didn't disappoint.

I never cease to be astounded at how these birds can hover, completely motionless in strong winds.

Nankeen Kestrel, 13th Beach

Occasionally, the bird would swoop down closer to the beach, dropping below the horizon line and providing an opportunity to grab a shot that I've had in my head for several years--a hovering kestrel with an out of focus surf in the background--but, unfortunately, this is what I usually end up with:

My tracking of the fast moving bird is never good enough to keep the bird in focus, so the auto focus picks up the day :-(

On one swoop, the bird dropped into the dune grass and came up talons filled with something. I can't quite work out what it is but I think its a grasshopper (along with a few blades of grass). Whatever it was, the bird did not eat it but continued hunting further along the dunes, probably saving it for young back at a nest.

Nankeen Kestrel, 13th Beach

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