Rapturous reception for kestrel
ARRIVING at a nature reserve just before dawn is nice if you have a bit of company – even if the company is just eyeing you up as a possible super-size meal.
As I got out of the car I spotted the kestrel hovering over an early breakfast below. The talented bird dived down and vanished.
Minutes later it was on top of a post regarding me.
I got close enough to get a reasonable photograph of the small raptor before it had plainly had enough of the attention and flew away.
Consider how lucky we are to have these wonderful wildlife moments here in the north west.
A week or so later we were filming with Countryfile and a kestrel flew in a straight line, like an arrow, across our path.
Even the crew from Britain’s favourite wildlife show let out an audible gasp.
Kestrels are one of our best-known birds of prey, often seen hovering over fields or at the sides of roads where mammals are disturbed by the traffic.
They are on the lookout for field voles, their favourite food, and other small mammals like mice.
They are most obvious when hovering with their pointed wings held out by the side.
Close up, males have a grey head with a prominent black band, a gingery back and a pale underside.
The female is similar with a browner back and darker bands on the tail.
Kestrels are between the blackbird and pigeon in size and they can nest in holes in trees, old buildings and old abandoned nests.
They will lay between four and five eggs and parents take it in turn to feed the chicks.
As previously mentioned they are a bird that has accepted humanity’s sprawl and can be found in towns and villages as well as in the countryside. We have lots of records of them nesting in buildings close to town centres.
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying north of the River Mersey. It manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 local nature reserves covering acres of woodland, wetland, upland and meadow.
The trust has 27,000 members, and over 1,200 volunteers.
To become a member of the trust, go to the website at lancswt.org. uk or call 01772 324129.
For more information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust, call 01948 820728 or go to cheshire wildlifetrust.org.uk.
Kestrels in Burnley town centre