Monday, 15 June 2009

Close Encounters of the Feathered Kind

Andrea has kindly contributed her close encounter. The pics were taken the following day at Rodley.

First thing Saturday morning I headed to our allotment to do some weeding and watering. On entering through the front gate I saw one of the resident wood pigeons lazing on the grass, having a well earned rest from eating all of our crops. I cursed in its direction and then heard a commotion of wings in the hedgerow 10 feet to my right. I looked up, expecting to see the pigeon’s equally chubby mate. To my surprise, what I saw was the largest kestrel I have ever seen, grabbing an unsuspecting bird from the hedge and taking flight with it in its talons. The smaller bird was doing its best to escape but it was no match for the kestrel, who flew off over the allotment closely followed by one of the magpies who have decided that this is their territory. Not only have I never seen this happen before, I have never even seen a kestrel in the vicinity of the allotment before, so it was something of a surprise, to say the least… Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me, although it happened so quickly I would have struggled to get a shot.

Coincidentally, we visited Rodley Local Nature Reserve the next morning and noticed that a healthy looking kestrel couple had taken up residence in one of the barn owl nest boxes. Could the daddy kestrel be my allotment marauder? Not sure of the distance between Headingley railway station and Rodley LNR as the kestrel flies, but it is a strong possibility…

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