Birds of Prey (Raptors, part II)


A few days after I posted my last post, I lucked out and had an Osprey actually fly really close to me, looking for fish. While I didn't have the opportunity of actually seeing a catch happening, I did get some nice close ups of this incredible bird of prey. My personal recommendation is to enlarge the pictures. In the first one you can see the Osprey making eye contact, and if you zoom on his face you will notice the amazing eyes.

Osprey in flight, making eye contact

                        


Pretty common at the fish lakes are the Western Marsh Harriers, who are noticeably smaller than the Ospreys. They don't have a taste for fish, but instead like to catch smaller birds while in flight. Their majestic flying pattern looks slow and unimposing, until they move suddenly to grab their prey.

Western Marsh Harrier in flight

   

Last week during the evening ours their silhouettes looked dreamy in the sunset light:

Western Marsh Harrier against the sunset

    


Even smaller are the Common Kestrels. Not much larger than your average dove, these little raptors have some amazing flying abilities. They can stay at a single spot in the air, using rapid wing movement, then dive in a split second at amazing speeds to grab their prey. They are truly beautiful birds, and can be found in the fields right next to my house, hunting for the rodents there.

You may remember my favorite picture of the Kestrel, a male one:

Male Common Kestrel in flight

Note that the head is grey. Below a couple of pictures of the female Common Kestrel. She's a bit larger than the male, and her head has the same pattern as the rest of the body:


Female Common Kestrel


More than a year ago, I lucked out in observing a couple of them together:

Common Kestrel couple


In these pictures, the differences between the male (left) and female (right) are very obvious.


Did you like the photos in this post? Let me know in the comments or via email!

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