Falco tinnunculus

It’s always good to see birds of prey and even better when they are nesting. This year has been particularly good around Histon with a kestrel nest, at least two barn owl (Tyto alba, Dansk: slørugle) nests – of which more in a later post – and at least two little owl (Athene noctua, Dansk: kirkeugle) nests. And that’s just the ones I know of, I’m fairly sure there’ll be sparrowhawks nesting in reasonably close proximity too.

Back to the kestrels though. In previous posts I’ve mentioned my favourite tree which is a really big old poplar on my (and lots of other folks) regular dog walking route. This year it played host to a family of kestrels (Falco tinnunculus, Dansk: tårnfalk). Initially I was concerned that being so close to a well-used public footpath the disturbance would be too great. Also, the nest was 7-8m up the tree and directly above a bench where the local kids sometimes hang out in the evenings, so on the face of it not the best spot for a pair of falcons to raise a brood.

The adult male kestrel standing guard over his nest site

The male and the female were in constant attendance around the nest site and on this occasion both were present. As I watched the male he flew off so I walked on past to avoid causing too much disturbance. As I departed the female flew a second diversionary line out the tree in another direction, alighting on the ground around 50m from the tree, on top of a furrow which had been ploughed to take potato plants which had not yet sprouted. So she was very conspicuous but keeping an eagle eye (kestrel eye?) on myself and the dog:

In general though the kestrels adults seemed fairly relaxed about all the activity going on around their chosen nursery.

At this point in time, at the end of April, the nest would have had eggs in which are incubated for approximately 4 weeks before hatching. They produced three youngsters which I’ll update you on in a later post.

Getting more up to date, I just got back from exploring the coast on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England, and the birds of prey there were numerous. Buzzards were plentiful and on the cliff tops peregrine falcons were much in evidence, with four separate sightings on different days and different locations, one of them chasing a raven which was highly vocal in proclaiming its disapproval. I didn’t get any pictures of the peregrines but I’ll post some raven shots in the near future.

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11 responses to “Falco tinnunculus

  1. Pingback: Down on the farm in July | The Naturephile

  2. I also see that your posts haven’t been displaying in my reader. Now I’ll have to catch up on your entire summer! Beautiful kestrel shot.

    • I think there’s been some anomalies going on with WP lately. Until a couple of weeks ago I was getting notifications via the orange notification tab on the top right when somene replied to a comment but that suddenly stopped happening. And there are other blogs which I follow which aren’t showing up new stuff in my Reader. I can feel an email to WP coming on.

  3. What a fantastic shot of the male. Looking forward to the next posts!

  4. A very good picture of that adult male. I almost never see birds of prey, but I know they are around…

  5. Sounds like you’re well blessed with raptors this year-looking forward to hearing whether they’ve all been successful in producing a new generation. That’s a lovely image of the male Kestrel; they are beautiful-looking birds. Hope you had a good holiday.

    • Hello Theresa, the holiday was gorgeous, wall to wall sunshine and more butterflies than one could shake a stick at! Not what I’ve been used to in the UK in the past few years (2010 was the last time I saw good numbers). I’ll be posting on those in the next month or two.

      It does appear to have been a good year for birds of prey too. I think they’re one of the most visible natural success stories in the last twenty years. I think that’s mainly due to changes in pesticide use and reintroduction programs.

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