Hovering hunters are a familiar sight
I came across a kestrel which was being harassed by two carrion crows last week. With the poor bird unable to fly away it was taken into care. Kestrels are found across east Kent throughout the year, but during the spring and autumn their numbers are supplemented by birds which migrate into Europe. During the winter the odd bird are found anywhere across our countryside, but they are not as numerous as the sparrowhawk. The number of kestrels seen hovering over motorway verges has declined over the decades. The kestrels on Dungeness do take voles and mice, but they also will catch common lizards and small birds as well. Male kestrels have a distinctive grey head and tail, while females are a more brown colour. Both sexes have a yellowish bill and a big eye and the legs are a bright yellow. Kestrels are familiar to most of us because they are found across the whole of the UK and have adapted to feeding and hovering on motorway grass verges looking for voles. They have a distinctive method of hunting which is to hover in one spot over a grassy area waiting for any movement. The secret to their hunting success is to keep the head completely still while they are hovering.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk