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Mad Aussie
12-01-2013, 04:48 AM
A pair of Nankeen Kestrels were gracious enough to ignore me while I photographed them at Terrigal. More info on these birds below.

Num num... Cicada!!
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7379/11147937565_6937ac6949_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11147937565/)
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11147937565/) by AstroVisual (http://www.flickr.com/people/astrovisual/), on Flickr

Nankeen Kestrels, although a Falcon, don't use high speed to catch prey like the Peregrine. They often hover steadily about 10 - 20 metres above a likely spot before folding up and dropping down for the catch.
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5511/11148108283_8223394b0f_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11148108283/)
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11148108283/) by AstroVisual (http://www.flickr.com/people/astrovisual/), on Flickr

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3798/11148109183_bf20fa110b_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11148109183/)
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11148109183/) by AstroVisual (http://www.flickr.com/people/astrovisual/), on Flickr

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5500/11147994794_abec8e1695_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11147994794/)
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11147994794/) by AstroVisual (http://www.flickr.com/people/astrovisual/), on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7449/11147935865_7dcfc5d407_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11147935865/)
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11147935865/) by AstroVisual (http://www.flickr.com/people/astrovisual/), on Flickr

This one let me get in close while she devoured her Cicada
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5529/11147995444_5602bd62f2_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11147995444/)
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11147995444/) by AstroVisual (http://www.flickr.com/people/astrovisual/), on Flickr

A lizard having a very bad day
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7414/11148107703_7efe31af44_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11148107703/)
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11148107703/) by AstroVisual (http://www.flickr.com/people/astrovisual/), on Flickr

I think she saw me!
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2870/11148107453_2747647ac2_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11148107453/)
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel (http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrovisual/11148107453/) by AstroVisual (http://www.flickr.com/people/astrovisual/), on Flickr

The Australian Kestrel or Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides) is one of the smallest falcons, and unlike many, does not rely on speed to catch its prey. Instead, it simply perches in an exposed position, but it also has a distinctive technique of hovering over crop and grasslands. This bird is thought to be a very close relative of the Common Kestrel, and probably also the Spotted Kestrel. It seems to have evolved of ancestral Common Kestrels dispersing to the Australian region in the Middle PleistoceneŚless than 1 million years agoŚand adapting to local conditions.

A small, slim falcon (about 31 to 35 centimetres or 12 to 14 inches long), the Nankeen Kestrel is rufous or brown above and white or off-white below, with a black tail tip. Plumage varies considerably in detail, and some birds can look very scruffy, but the slim build, small size and distinctive straight-winged hovering habit make identification easy.

A very common and easily seen raptor, the Nankeen Kestrel is found in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands, and is an irregular visitor to New Zealand. It occupies any type of land that is not too densely vegetated, but in particular temperate grasslands and open woodlands. In the tropical north and the sandy deserts of the west, it has a patchy and seasonal distribution.

Diet is varied, with a large number of insects, but also small birds and reptiles, and in particular, small rodents, mostly mice. Nankeen Kestrels are adaptable and hunt in a number of different ways: of these, simply perching in an exposed position (such as on a dead tree or a telephone pole) and watching for prey is the most common, but it is their habit of hovering motionless over crop and grasslands that is most distinctive.
Female

Typically seen singly or in pairs, they can aggregate into loose flocks of up to 30 when conditions are right. Pairs are typically monogamous and may or may not disperse to different areas during the non-breeding season. The nest is any convenient structure: a tree hollow, cliff ledge or disused corvid's nest, for example, and is not modified or added to by the kestrels.

Three to seven eggs are laid in late winter (usually about four) and incubated by the female alone. Hatching takes place after 26 to 28 days, and the male brings food while the female continues to incubate until the young are close to fledging, at which time the female leaves the nest to hunt for them too. Multiple broods are raised in good seasons.

Anuj
12-01-2013, 04:56 AM
I like the last one, looks like light is propelling the bird and the stripes near eyes r good.

Marko
12-01-2013, 10:56 AM
Lovely series as usual MA! Shot 5 is my fave of the set.

asnow
12-01-2013, 11:03 AM
Very nice of her to cooperate. I like the 6th one with her sitting on top of the cicadia.

casil403
12-01-2013, 11:04 AM
2 and 6 for me please...they are all very good MA and thanks for the info.

Mad Aussie
12-01-2013, 02:47 PM
Thanks gang. It was an awesome opportunity. If only I could get a Peregrine to be so accommodating for me...

aubintbay
12-02-2013, 12:34 PM
Nice set MA. Shots 4 and 5 for me. These are skittish little guys around here. Most every time I see one he's on the wing before I can get much of a shot. I need some of your luck.

Mad Aussie
12-02-2013, 01:54 PM
Nice set MA. Shots 4 and 5 for me. These are skittish little guys around here. Most every time I see one he's on the wing before I can get much of a shot. I need some of your luck.
Thanks AB. I don't normally get this lucky... I usually have to work hard for good bird shots, but I'll take it.

Rich Z
12-03-2013, 02:34 AM
A beautiful bird and you did a fantastic job capturing it. We have kestrels here in The Pacific Northwest and they are very hard to get near enough to for a good shot. Very nice work, indeed! Rich

Mad Aussie
12-03-2013, 03:12 AM
A beautiful bird and you did a fantastic job capturing it. We have kestrels here in The Pacific Northwest and they are very hard to get near enough to for a good shot. Very nice work, indeed! Rich
Thanks Rich! :)

Jason
12-03-2013, 10:23 AM
Really beautifully captured, MA!

Mad Aussie
12-03-2013, 02:46 PM
Really beautifully captured, MA!
Thank you Jason:)

Jim Scrimger
12-03-2013, 03:36 PM
What a great series.Nos 2,3 &4 might be considered for a triptych. I really like the power dive. no 5, and am trying to figure out where her air brakes are and how the hell did she pull out.

Mad Aussie
12-04-2013, 02:31 AM
What a great series.Nos 2,3 &4 might be considered for a triptych. I really like the power dive. no 5, and am trying to figure out where her air brakes are and how the hell did she pull out.
She probably flies better than you walk Jim ;-D

JAS_Photo
12-04-2013, 09:55 AM
Those are awesome, M.A! What a beautiful little bird!

Mad Aussie
12-04-2013, 01:39 PM
Those are awesome, M.A! What a beautiful little bird!
Thank you JAS :)

Mike Bons
12-05-2013, 01:17 PM
I always love images of Kestrels. I am completely jealous everytime I see one as I have never been able to get anything decent. #6 is my fav. I do appreciate the action in the others but the composition and sharpness of 6 is quite appealing. Nice work!!

Mad Aussie
12-05-2013, 02:18 PM
I always love images of Kestrels. I am completely jealous everytime I see one as I have never been able to get anything decent. #6 is my fav. I do appreciate the action in the others but the composition and sharpness of 6 is quite appealing. Nice work!!
Thanks Mike :) I was very lucky she was happy to sit for 5 mins on top of that tree for me.

Hillbillygirl
12-14-2013, 06:10 AM
Awesome series here MA. If anything like our Kestrels then you REALLY had an amazing experience here, as ours are almost impossible to get near.

Mad Aussie
12-14-2013, 02:21 PM
Awesome series here MA. If anything like our Kestrels then you REALLY had an amazing experience here, as ours are almost impossible to get near.
Normally they can be difficult to approach but this one was awesome.