Tag Archives: kestrel

Raising Kestrels

For past few weeks I’ve been watching an amazing live feed from the kestrel nest box at Woods Mill, the headquarters of Sussex Wildlife Trust. There are half a dozen chicks in the box, and the adults are working feverishly to keep them fed. I’ve been down there a couple of times to watch the adults at work.

The feeding goes on throughout the day. The male tends to arrive and drop off the prey, but the female takes more time in the nest. The chicks can feed themselves now, but in the first days she would distribute the food across the brood taking care that all the chicks received a share.

These photos were taken today over the course of a few hours. I was set-up well away from the nest so these are all moderately heavy crops. I used a 500mm lens, sometimes with a 1.4x extender. For the majority I locked the focus on the box and waited for the adult to fly across the same plane. Plenty of misses, but far easier than trying to track a bird that appears from nowhere against a dark background.

The male delivering a vole 

The female with a rat for the hungry brood

The male again

The male with a young rat wood mouse

kestrel with prey (wood mouse)

Female kestrel leaving the nest

The male leaving the nest

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 500mm f/4 IS II USM lens. I used a 1.4x extender on a couple of the shots.

Kestrel at Sheepcote

I stopped off at Sheepcote Valley this morning, my favourite local haunt for kestrel watching. A male was out hunting right at the entrance. And that’s all I really need say. The phoots can speak for themselves.

kestrel

Kestrel (male) at Sheepcote Valley, Brighton.

Kestrel

Kestrel

Kestrel with prey

, which was restored in the early 2000s and briefly owned by Steve Coogan! with prey

Kestrel with prey

Kestrel

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

A Kestrel at Breakfast

This is a bit of an unscheduled break in the relentless fox cub posts (I have so many photos that I’m not even trying to keep up). I got these shots on my way to work this morning, at around 8.00am. I drive past Sheepcote Valley by Brighton racecourse every morning. It’s a good spot for kestrels and this morning one was hovering right over the entrance to the car park. Too good an opportunity not to stop. By the time I had parked and got the camera ready the kestrel had moved about 20 yards… The light wasn’t great and I thought shots like this were all I was going to get.

kestrel

Kestrel (female) hovering at Sheepcote Valley, near Brighton, East Sussex

But then the kestrel dropped into the grass… and I go this short sequence.

kestrel and prey

Kestrel pinning down its prey (a vole)

kestrel and prey

A quick nibble…

kestrel and prey

And up and away…

kestrel and prey

A good start to my day, and the kestrel’s. Less good for the vole, but this is the harsher side of wildlife watching.

It’s too wet tonight to watch out for the fox cubs, but they’ve been on great form over the weekend. This was last night’s Fox of the Day… worth a reprise over here as well.

fox cubs fighting

Fox cubs fighting at night

Camera note: all kestrel photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. Fox cubs photographed with the EF 24-105 F4L IS USM lens.