Episode 13 – A brush with kestrels

In April, while on the outskirts of Hitchin, I spotted something hovering and flapping its wings like crazy. There was a hedgerow in the way so I wasn’t able to get any closer, but I did fire off a few shots before it flew away. As usual, I had my shutter speed on a fairly low setting but I was able to produce a couple of half decent pics. It turned out to be a kestrel! Aka Falco tinnunculus.

ISO 100 – F5.6 – 1/640

It seems I had found a kestrel’s hunting ground.

ISO 100 – F5.6 – 1/640

I decided I would return at a later date and with provisions to spend an hour or two photographing them, and so I returned mid-May. I set myself up in the field I had witnessed the kestrel hovering over and waited.

It wasn’t too long before I noticed one flitting around from quite some distance. In fact, during the entire shoot they (There were two of them at some point) seldom got close, so my shots were from long range.

As I have witnessed several times over the year, a crow attacks a bird of prey, and goes for the kestrel.

ISO 280 – F8 – 1/2000

It was quite a windy day and my chosen elevated location battled against the kestrels as they hunted.

ISO 320 – F8 – 1/2000

Finally, one of them flies away with a reward.

ISO 280 – F8 – 1/2000

The pair fly together in formation before splitting up.

ISO 280 – F8 – 1/2000


While snapping the kestrels, I also noticed some other birds flying (or attempting to) around the area. It was so windy, whenever they launched themselves from the bushy foliage dotting the field, they were blown far back, like confetti to a fan.

ISO 160 – F5.6 – 1/2000

From the identification guide, these appear to be Meadow Pipits. This one flies away clutching its catch between its beak. It’s great to discover a new bird while hunting for others. 🙂


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